A lesson or two learned
Rick Olivares (The Philippine Star) - July 1, 2013 - 6:41pm

The opening day of UAAP Season 76 served reminders to one and all about the league and what it takes to win a game. Of course, first game jitters aside.

UE vs. FEU

In the first two possessions, the Tams went hard at the basket. They went 1-2 on those attempts then inexplicably, they began to shoot from the outside where they missed a lot of shots.

FEU shot 23 percent from the field while UE took it inside for a 21-11 lead.

Perhaps the most crucial stat that would emerge in the first half were the three fouls called against UE center Charles Mammie.

At the 7:31 mark of the second quarter, Mammie was whistled for his third foul. He played only six minutes in the first half where he hauled down six rebounds with four coming off the offensive glass. The score was 23-15 at that point.

UE would hold off FEU for a bit more as Ralf Olivares exploded for seven second period points but the Tams hit two consecutive triples to close out the half (from Mac Belo and Mike Tolomia) to make it 37-32.

Roi Sumang opened the third period with a triple to push the lead to 40-32 but FEU went on a run behind Terrence Romeo who gave his team a 42-40 lead with a coast-to-coast lay-up.

Sumang answered with a triple to give UE a 43-42 lead. They looked to weather FEU’s onslaught when they added three more points with two from Lord Casajeros and one from Adrian Santos.

But FEU had gotten going behind Romeo. His three-point play at the 2:05 mark of the third quarter gave the Tamaraws the lead for good.

The Tamaraws did a couple of things well in that pivotal third period:

  • They shot the ball well 57.1 percent from the field
  • They outrebounded UE 17-9
  • And perhaps more importantly, Romeo was setting his teammates up particularly RR Garcia who he hasn’t has the best basketball relationship in their four years on the team. At one point, after drilling a wide open triple, Garcia, the UAAP Most Valuable Player in Season 73 pointed to Romeo as a sign of respect.

Romeo chalked up four huge assists in the third period. He would end up with a near triple double 23 points, 9 rebounds and 12 assists.

UE suffered greatly with Charles Mammie and Chris Javier on the bench. With no post presence, they resorted mostly to shooting from the outside. When the Red Warriors are clicking from the outside they are tough to stop. the problem was they couldn’t find the range.

Furthermore, for much of the game, they would only make one pass then shoot.

The most telling statistic of the game is Terrence Romeo out-assisted the entire UE 12-11.

In the preseason, UE went to the foul line a lot indicating a willingness to take it in. In this game, they were awarded 33 attempts from the free throw line. They only made 22. That hurt as well.

By contrast, FEU made good on 14-19 FTs.

The UE Red Warriors flopped big time in their season debut. They sure looked well on their way to their first win as they led early in the game but lost it when Charles Mammie being in foul trouble upset their rotation. Furthermore, they opted to jack up shots from the outside instead of taking the ball to the rack.

Roi Sumang for all his prodigious scoring talents got served a lesson as well by opposite number Terrence Romeo. While Romeo is a noted gunner to the point of being selfish, the fourth year Tamaraw showed where FEU could go if he passes that ball.

FEU chalked up win #1 via 89-78 score.

It was also a lesson for Charles Mammie that his trash talking and physical play will not work in the UAAP. And for the entire UE team that the UAAP is altogether another animal as opposed to the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup that they ruled.

La Salle vs. UST

The Growling Tigers are the masters of uglyball (aside from the Ateneo Blue Eagles). In a game marked by 43 turnovers (that more than one turnover by either team per minute) and UST giving La Salle chances to come back with poor playmaking and turnovers, the Tigers still had enough in the tank for a 63-58 overtime win.

I was ready to concede that they do not need a point guard at this stage but UST clearly struggled. Case in point, LA Revilla stealing the ball from Clark Bautista with 1:38 left in the fourth period (although that was negated by an offensive foul by Jeron Teng one of three called against him in the match).

But a look at the overall picture shows that UST finished with 11 assists while La Salle, supposedly, still a security guard agency with their cadre of Almond Vosotros, LA Revilla, Thomas Torres, and Kib Montalbo all playing the one-spot finished with the heinous statistic of chalking up only seven assists. And two of those dishes came from power forward Jason Perkins.

Even as Revilla took away the ball from Bautista, the cramped up graduating shooting guard, managed to force the former into a backing violation in the final 15 seconds of OT to seal the win.

The Green Archers, just as they did last year, ruled the boards, 52-44, but they could not translate that into points.

During the second period, they managed only eight points with four coming from the free throw line. 

UST in the meantime also saw Aljon Mariano play the Invisible Man for most of the game before he came alive in the last 10 minutes of the game (including overtime) where he scored – ahem – five points. But they were crucial enough to keep La Salle at bay.

Jeric Teng and Karim Abdul kept UST in this game. Incredibly, six traveling infractions were called by game officials but there was a none call on Abdul at the 3:42 mark where he traveled not once but several times for a bucket.

I guess that evened out when a stoppage in play – there was a ballpen on the court in front of the La Salle bench (this one sounds not kosher and smacks of that faux challenge in the Final Four last year) – gave DLSU a chance to call time. UST coach Pido Jarencio said that there was no need to call time as the ref could have kicked the pen off the court. Perkins went on to hit a long jumper to send the game into extension.

Once in extension, UST found strength in Jeric Teng and Abdul (although Mariano hit some free throws) to pull out the 63-58 win. As Pido Jarencio told me, “Jeric Teng is our go-to guy. He is our first option and our second option.”

I say that along with Roi Sumang, Ray Parks, and Jericho Cruz, Teng will challenge for the scoring title this year. And he did it in the clutch -- see that great turn around jumper from just inside the three-point line over his brother Jeron? That was awesome.

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