UAAP: Red Warriors win in dramatic fashion over Bulldogs
MANILA, Philippines – Coach Jerry Codinera always believed his University of the East could snare at least a win in the 74th UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
He doesn’t have to wait much longer as the lowly UE squad finally barged into the win column Saturday with a 72-71 nipping of National University at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
The chances of snapping a six-game tailspin looked bleak with four minutes left in the game as UE stared at a 10-point deficit.
But the dauntless Red Warriors wiped out the double digit deficit with a stunning 12-3 run that tied the game at 70, before a finger roll by Adrian Santos with 57.3 ticks gave them the final lead.
Codinera, who didn’t even call a time out during that stretch to hush things down, was confident that his squad – now at 1-6 at the end of the first round – will turn things around.
“I wanted to save my timeouts when the game goes down the wire,” Codinera said.
True enough, it was still anybody’s game until the final two seconds when Santos won the jump ball against towering center Emmanuel Mbe to give the Warriors the match’s final possession.
“I just told Adrian [Santos] to jump as high as he could. If it fell in favor of us, then we’re meant to win,” added Codinera.
Santos finished with just four points but got major back-up from UE’s underrated star Paul Zamar and up-and-coming guard Ebrahim Enguio.
Zamar punched in 20 points, Enguio added 19 while guard Shej Sumang, who caught the ball from Santos as the time expired, had 10 points.
“We proved it wasn’t an individual effort [that won us the game],” said the articulate Zamar, who lost steam in the fourth quarter after catching fire from the field.
“I asked coach to take me out when I hit a dryspell,” shared Zamar, as he let his teammates do the demolition job instead.
Enguio scored seven points, Santos and Sumang connected on a give-and-go, and John Noble completed a three-point play to cut NU’s lead in just two and half minutes.
The Bulldogs, who are falling way behind expectations even with prized newcomer Bobby Ray Parks in tow, dropped to 2-4 to wrap up the first round of elimination.
But Parks, in spite of another solid offensive showing, could not back up his numbers with the victory as he missed both charities with 7.7 seconds remaining.
Parks did recover his own miss but misfired again on a leaning jump shot which was followed by a mad scramble for the ball en route to the jump.
Jul-ashri Ignacio, whose triple game NU a 68-58 lead with 4:01 to play, finished with 16 points.