Saturday, 10 September 2011 40 Comments
WITH the game in hand, Biboy Enguio turned and waved goodbye to the University of the East Red Warriors fans as his team was able to close out a transitional year on a high note.
Expected to struggle with veterans Paul Lee and Ken Acibar leaving for the pros, UE was able to end Season 74 of the UAAP gracefully with a 68-54 win over the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons last September 10 at the Araneta Coliseum.
“No one really believed when they look at our team,” said rookie head coach Jerry Codiñera. “We may be small…but we try to look for ways to be competitive. You can see naman in the way we paly, we don’t just give up.”
Both sides came out with extended scoring runs to start the game, leading to a first quarter tie at 18-all. Hot shooting by the Red Warriors spelled the difference in the second period through a 10-2 run led by rookie Chris Javier that put them on top, 28-20 with 3:55 remaining in the first half. The Maroons’ five minute scoring drought was finally snapped by a floater by Paolo Romero, cutting the UE lead to six, 28-22. They couldn’t make further headway however, as JM Noble caught fire, burying three straight buckets, including a triple at the 1:28 mark, to push the Warriors’s lead back to double digits, 35-24.
At the dawn of the third quarter, Lucas Tagarda took it strong to the hoop, with his layup hiking the advantage to 13, 41-28. UP rallied behind a 7-0 burst, getting to within six points on a catch and shoot triple in transition by reserve point guard Robbie Wierzba, halfway through the period, 41-35. Surprisingly, it was UE’s bigs that brought them back, as six straight from Adrian Santos and four from Javier allowed them to close out strongly, restoring their double-digit lead, 55-45.
State U cut the deficit down to six again two and a half minutes into the fourth, off two free throws and a layup by Mark Juruena. But UE closed out the opposition, holding UP to just two points in a five-minute span. Meanwhile, Santos and Enguio served as the catalysts for a decisive 11-2 run, getting the lead up to 15, 68-53 with 2:39 left. And though the Warriors went scoreless in the final moments of the game, UP managed just two more points, not enough to affect the result.
In Enguio’s final game as a Red Warrior, the talented triggerman dropped a game-high 18 markers on 7-of-15 shooting, and added six boards, four steals and two blocks. “Importante sa amin to’ kasi yung pride namin,” said Enguio after the game. “Inaalay ko to’ sa pamilya ko at sa UE community.” Santos provided a late spark with 12 points, all in the second-half, while Noble also scored 12. UE got a huge boost from turnover points as it converted 25 UP miscues into 22 points, reducing the impact of its own 21 turnovers. Team captain Paul Zamar, also playing his final game, added, “Kahit hindi kami umabot ng Final Four this year, we never quit in every game. Kahit matambakan kami, next game, we bounce back.”
Another player on his last year of eligibility, Miggy Maniego, led UP with 14 points, eight in the first quarter. Former juniors rookie of the year Juruena added 12 and seven boards, but the Maroons got a poor outing from their shooters, as Gamboa, Mike SIlungan and Jett Manuel combined for just 10 points on 4-of-21 shooting.
Finishing with a 3-11 record, UE will enter year two of its rebuilding program, centered around point guard Roi Sumang and Javier. Meanwhile, UP left behind a 0-14 season and notched two victories in 2011. Next year sees them call up a good amount of players from their Team B, including some Maroons from Season 73 like Alvin Padilla, Mark Lopez and Mikee Reyes.
UE 68 – Enguio 18, Santos 12, Noble 12, Sumang 8, Javier 8, Zamar 4, Casajeros 2, Tagarda 2, Duran 2, Sumido 0, Flores 0
UP 54 – Maniego 13, Juruena 12, Gomez 6, Montecastro 5, Silungan 5, Gamboa 5, Wierzba 3, Romero 2, Mbah 2, Wong 0, Manuel 0, Gingerich 0
Quarter scoring: 18-18, 37-26, 55-45, 68-54