Renz Palma racked up 18 points to anchor the University of the East Red Warriors, 63-59, over the Southwestern University Cobras in Group B action of the FilOil Flying V Premier Cup held at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.
Aside from Palma, UE relied on a balanced output among the team. RR De Leon and Edgar Charcos poured in eight and seven respectively while seven other players got to contribute in the team’s scoring. In the losing effort, the Cobras were spearheaded by Boko Mupungu who tallied a game-high 20 points and Daryl Goloran who also added 15 to nearly ambush a win for the Cebuanos.
Both teams only scored eight each in the first five minutes of the game, with fouls and turnovers becoming issues they needed to address. Breaking the deadlock, the Red Warriors raced to a comfortable 19-14 lead to end the first quarter. In that UE rally, SWU missed Goloran after being slapped with an unsportsmanlike foul after he elbowed Joshua Gonzales. Good thing for the Cobras, their starting forward did not do enough to get himself disqualified for the rest of the match. Mupungu rescued SWU from falling further behind by scoring eight of his team’s first 14 points.
In the second period, SWU played more aggressively. Led by Jasper Parker, the Cebuanos sent the Red Warriors to the penalty early in the quarter, milking most of their points from the free-throw line. Going down 25-21, UE banked on Palma to regain the advantage. He scored 10 of his team’s next 15 points to make sure the Red Warriors were ahead at halftime.
In the opening 10 minutes of the second half, UE increased their lead to as much as six points. Unable to find his groove in the opening half, Mac Tallo shone for the Cobras. The former DLSU Green Archer scored five unanswered points while also dishing a dime that led to a Mupungu basket. Tallo then split his trip from the line in the succeeding possession to singlehandedly ignite an 8-0 run to give SWU a two-point lead. Eager not to let SWU turn the game around, the Red Warriors employed the Pumaren full court press, which yielded to five quick points. Both squads exchanged baskets until the end of the period. With 10 minutes left in regulation, UE’s lead was cut to one.
The fourth quarter turned out to be a scoring duel. Whenever one team scored, the other responded and when otherwise, the opponent also misfired. Approaching a tense finish, Palma finished off a three-on-one fastbreak with a layup to spread the lead to three. Miscues from both ends of the court simply burned valuable time, much to the benefit of the Red Warriors who held on to their lead for good.
UE coach Derrick Pumaren admitted that the win is a flattering result for his team. “A win is a win but we did not come out playing that way. It was a game that we didn’t give our total effort out there. We were taking SWU lightly, and that’s why they really stayed close,” the veteran coach commented. A huge concern for Pumaren going into the UAAP was their discipline in defense. His team gave away eight more fouls than SWU, which gave the Cobras the opportunity to score 14 more points from the stripe than UE. Conversely, the ex-DLSU coach expressed satisfaction with the players’ ability to convert opponents’ mistakes into points. UE forced 22 turnovers, 10 less than what they had. It also resulted to 18 more points in favor of the Red Warriors, who grabbed their fifth win in six games played. Meanwhile, SWU slipped to their third loss in their fourth Filoil Flying V Premier Cup game.
UE 63 — Palma 18, De Leon 8, Charcos 7, Awana 6, Abanto 6, Manalang 4, Gonzales 4, Batiller 4, Guiang 4, P. Varilla 2, Gagate 0, Sta. Ana 0, J. Varilla 0, Mina 0, Cruz 0
SWU 59 — Mupungu 20, Goloran 15, Tallo 7, Parker 6, Holper 3, Pardo 3, Bregondo 3, Luz 2, Auditor 0, Acuno 0
|UE (B, 5-1)||19||36||49||63|
|SWU (B, 1-3)||14||32||48||59|