UE's Charles Mammie gestures after scoring against NU. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA – University of the East (UE) center Charles Mammie earned praise from head coach Derrick Pumaren after his season-best performance against National University (NU) last weekend that kept the Red Warriors in the Final Four hunt.
With star point guard Roi Sumang benched due to disciplinary reasons, Mammie shone for the Red Warriors as he scored a season high 22 points to go along with 10 rebounds.
"It's a different Charles Mammie," Pumaren said of the center from Sierra Leone. "As I've said, he just has to play UE basketball. He cannot play Charles Mammie basketball."
Earlier in the season, when the Red Warriors were mired in a losing streak, Pumaren benched Mammie for long stretches in their first round game against NU, and later said Mammie "is not giving us anything defensively," and that they were better playing with Moustapha Arafat.
Times have changed, however. Mammie rebounded from that poor performance against NU in the first round with a dominant showing in their second encounter, which saw him completely outplay NU counterpart Alfred Aroga.
"I must say, in fairness to Charles, he's a different person now, attitude-wise and in and out of the court," said Pumaren. "The way he plays is different."
Pumaren even said it was Mammie who "carried us on his shoulders" against the Bulldogs.
"He was making big shots, even hit like 15-16 footers na para bang, the coach says, 'No, no, no,' but when he makes it, 'Yes!'" said the coach.
Mammie, for his part, said he felt the need to step up, especially with UE making a last push for the semi-finals.
"Coming into this game tonight, we had to give it our all and just push hard," said Mammie.
He admitted that it was "really hard" for them to play without Sumang, but also pointed out that they had several other players who stepped up and played well.
"We still have other guys who can fill in his spot," Mammie said. "We're a team, and we're ready to play."