Big man Javier makes first career-trey to lift UE past UPBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines—Big man Chris Javier made sure his first attempt from beyond the arc mattered.
University of the East evened up the match up with University of the Philippines—banking on Javier’s buzzer-beating bucket for a 79-76 victory Sunday in the 75th UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Javier knocked down a looping triple from the corner off Roi Sumang’s dish over the outstretched hands of the Maroons’ Raul Soyud, giving the Warriors the elusive second victory this season.
Javier, who’s never attempted a shot from downtown previous to the game-winning shot, capped his big game of 20 points and nine rebounds.
“It was my first time to make a three-point and it ended to be the game winner,” said Javier in Filipino. “It’s in my blood to be a Warrior.”
Though Sumang—who was the hero in UE’s victory over Adamson in the first round—didn’t hit the final shot, it was his assist to Javier that paved the way.
The sly guard also chalked up a game-best 20 points, seven assists and five rebounds for the Red Warriors, who also gave the first victory to the returning head coach Boycie Zamar.
“We played with the head and the heart for 40 minutes,” said Zamar, who coached the likes of James Yap and Paul Artadi almost a decade ago in UE. “It was a magical win.”
Javier also sank a follow-up early in the fourth, which gave the Red Warriors – who went to work when it came to cleaning up the boards –a 70-59 lead, the biggest of the game.
The Red Warriors got cushion from their huge third-quarter input, and didn’t break down when the Maroons came storming back in the game in the payoff period.
A triple from Mike Silungan and a basket from Chris Ball momentarily gave UP the lead, 76-75, with 2:10 left to go.
The Maroons, who sunk to the bottom with a 1-9 record, even had a shot to win the game after forcing a 24-second shotclock violation with 36 seconds left.
Mike Gamboa, who also missed on a fastbreak attempt in the final minutes, though, muffed a potential go-ahead trey from the left corner.