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Derige, Varilla outwork UP, end UE season on a high note

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In a game that took two hours to finish, the University of the East Red Warriors outhustled the University of the Philippine Fighting Maroons to end their UAAP Season 78 campaign on a winning note with a 79-67 victory Wednesday afternoon at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

UE’s trademark pressure defense stiffled the already-stagnant UP offense in limiting the season hosts to just a single field goal in the first four minutes of the opening quarter. After a UE timeout, senior Agu Amar was able to find an open Henry Asilum for a three-pointer while free throws by Asilum and an and-one play by Mark Juruena gave UP an 11-7 lead. The UP rally was cut short with a triple by Clark Derige that sparked an 8-1 rally that gave UE the lead once more. Jett Manuel ended the quarter strong for the hosts with two conversions to close out the quarter with UP on top 18-17.

Again, the Fighting Maroons again struggled to open the second stanza as they committed turnover after turnover against the UE defense. On offense UE went on an 8-0 rally capped by a three-point play by Jason Varilla. The Red Warriors continued the surge as Chris Javier toyed with the UP frontline in scoring six inside points to close out the quarter while a three-pointer by rookie Philipi Manalang with 25 seconds remaining in the half gave UE a 37-28 lead to enter the break.

In the third canto, the UE defense limited State U to just five field goals in the quarter. The Fighting Maroons were plagued by unforced turnovers for the entire quarter. The Fighting Maroons were fortunate to attempt ten free throw attempts and convert on seven to keep the game from being a blowout. On the other hand, junior Paul Varilla gobbled up rebounds in the quarter, against taller UP players, and was able to score ten points to extend the UE lead to 14, 61-47, to enter the final quarter.

The UE lead ballooned to a game-high 18 points after a Emil Palma find to Derige for an easy layup with 5:10 remaining in the game. Paul Desiderio ied to make one last push for the hosts in scoring 11 fourth quarter points but Derige’s eight fourth quarter points and the UE lead were insurmountable as UE closed their UAAP Season 78 campaign with a 79-67 win.

UE head coach Derick Pumaren felt a little disappointed that the Red Warriors were just one game short of at least a playoff for the Final Four. “We were right on schedule but we fell one game short to go to the Final Four,” the veteran head coach said. “We paid for it because we did not win against Adamson, a game we were supposed to win.”

This was further stressed by graduating senior Chris Javier in saying that today’s game was bittersweet. “Inaamin ko na nagkulang kami. Winiwish ko na solid sila next year,” he said. Javier had 13 markers on 46% shooting and six boards in his final game. Pumaren then said that Javier was a lot better than when he went to UE. “So far he’s consistent. He’ll be a good power forward in the PBA.”

Derige again led the Red Warriors in scoring with 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. He was 50% from the field and 7/11 from the charity stripe. Paul Varilla added 14 points and six boards.

For the Fighting Maroons, Paul Desiderio scored a career-high 26 points. He was 33% from the field but was an outstanding 14/17 from the foul line. Henry Asilum added 12 markers. Graduating players Agu Amar, Mark Juruena, and JR Gallarza had eight, seven, and two points respectively.

As a team, the Red Warriors displayed great teamwork in the game in assisting on 25 of their 29 made field goals. Furthermore, they were able to force UP to 23 turnovers that led to 23 turnover points.

The UE Red Warriors will finish their season with a 6-8 record, good for sixth place. According to Pumaren, UE’s next season starts on Friday as they are set to compete in the Father Martin’s Cup. UP, on the other had, will finish their season with a six-game losing streak and with a 3-10 record.

The Scores:
UE (79) – Derige 18, P. Varilla 14, Javier 13, De Leon 8, J. Varilla 7, Palma 5, Yu 5, Batiller 3, Manalang 3, Gagate 2, Sta. Ana 1, Charcos 0.
UP (67) – Desiderio 26, Asilum 12, Amar 8, Juruena 7, Manuel 6, Moralde 4, Dario 2, Gallarza 2, Harris 0, Jaboneta 0, Kone 0, Lim 0, Vito 0, Webb 0.
Quarterscores: 17-18, 37-28, 61-47, 79-67.

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