The surprising University of the East Red Warriors sealed a quarterfinals berth in the 2015 FilOil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup in a sloppy 70-67 win over the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons.
The Red Warrior-press puzzled the Fighting Maroons in the opening minutes of the game as UE took a 10-7 lead. Moreover, the press forced UP into turnovers that led to fast break points for UE. Paul Varilla, then, went on a scoring splurge of his own in scoring the next six UE points to give them a 16-11 lead. A pull-jumper by Henry Asilum to beat the buzzer closed the quarter with UE up 20-13.
The second quarter was a foul-plagued quarter for the Recto-based squad as they committed nine fouls that led to 19 free throw attempts for UP. The Fighting Maroons were able to convert on 11 of those attempts to slowly put them back in the game. UP was able to cut the lead to 33-30 with 1:06 remaining after a split on the charity stripe by Mark Juruena. However, a three-point play by Jordan Sta. Ana gave UE a six-point cushion. Furthermore, A fastbreak layup by Noah Webb coming from Asilum closed the quarter with UE clinging to a four-point lead, 36-32.
The patented Pumaren press went into full swing again the third quarter with UE going on a 17-8 run that extended the Red Warrior lead to 13 points, 54-41, with 3:26 remaining. Varilla either scored or assisted on majority of the points. The run was capped by an amazing inbound alley-oop by Philip Manalang to Bertrand Awana. The backcourt of Asilum and Desiderio sparked a 6-0 run to close the quarter out with UE still holding a seven-point lead.
Again, unnecessary fouls by the UE defenders resulted to the Red and White squad going into the penalty zone with 7:04 still remaining in the fourth. Baskets by Juruena and Andrew Harris and converted free throws eventually tied the game at 56-all with 5:55 remaining. With 3:47 remaining, the Red Warriors went into a 6-0 rally with conversions by RR de Leon and Edson Batiller from the charity stripe to give their team a 64-58 lead. Desiderio took charge for UP afterwards to cut the UE lead to just two, 68-66. Unfortunately for the Diliman-based squad, supposed game tying layups by Desiderio and Asilum were blocked by Awana and de Leon respectively. With 17.8 remaining, a putback by Chris Javier, coming from missed free throws by Sta. Ana gave UE a 70-67 lead. Dario and Desiderio were not able to connect on potential game tying three pointers to seal the win for the Red Warriors.
After the game, Coach Derrick Pumaren was not happy with the lackadaisical performance of his boys. “They took UP for granted. They were only playing defense for two good minutes, but basketball is a 40 minute game. Buti na lang, they stepped up in the closing minutes of the game,” the UAAP champion coach told the members of the press.
Varilla led all scorers with 17 markers, while Chris Javier had another double-double outing with 12 points and 12 rebounds. On the other side, former San Beda Red Lion, Paul Desiderio, led his team with 16 points, while rookie Agustini Amar had 12 points and eight rebounds.
There was a huge free throw discrepancy between the two teams as UP was able to attempt 39 free throws in the game compared to 27 from UE. This was the result of UE committing 25 total fouls in the game. Fortunately for UE, UP committed 24 turnovers that resulted to 13 turnover points for UE.
UE Red Warriors will play their final game of the elimination round on Saturday, June 6 at 3:15pm. For UP, this is their final game for the Premier Cup.
UE 70 – Varilla P. 17, De Leon 13, Javier 12, Sta. Ana 11, Batiller 9, Gonzales 3, Manalang 2, Awana 2, Palma 1, Charcos 0, Gagate 0, Penuela 0, Larupay 0, Varilla J. 0, Guiang 0
UP 67 – Desiderio 16, Amar 12, Dario 7, Gallarza 7, Asilum 5, Juruena 5, Lim 4, Harris 3, Prado 3, Webb 3, Tekoudjou 2, Vito 0, Jaboneta 0
|UE (B, 6-1)||20||36||54||70|
|UP (B, 1-7)||13||32||47||67|