UE sophomore Chris Javier had never hit a three-pointer in his UAAP career. But with time about to run out, and the game tied at 76-all, Javier had little choice but to hoist up a jumper before the game clock hit zero.
Javier’s shot found the bottom of the net and lifted the Red Warriors past the UP Fighting Maroons in their second round match in the 75th season of the UAAP Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
“First time ko shumoot ng three points, winning basket pa,” said Javier after the game. “Diko alam i-re-react ko pero ang thinking ko nun is to shoot. Kasi dying seconds eh.”
“Kumpiyansa lang sa shot, na hindi mawala yung composure sa shot.”
UE had a sizzling start to their second half, outscoring the Fighting Maroons 29-18 in the third quarter to turn a three-point halftime deficit into an eight-point lead entering the fourth period. They pushed the lead up to as high as 11 points, 70-59, early in the fourth.
But the Fighting Maroons rallied behind a 7-0 run midway through the quarter. With UE leading by five, 74-69, under four minutes to play, UP’s Diony Hipolito and Mike Silungan hit back-to-back baskets, including a three-pointer, that tied the game up at 74.
Red Warrior JR Sumindo split his free throws on a trip to the line, while Chris Ball answered on the other end for UP as the Fighting Maroons tooka 76-75 lead with 2:04 remaining.
Javier, the former San Beda Red Cub, earned a trip to the charity stripe but only made one of two, tying the game again at 76-all. Both teams were able to come up with defensive stops, the last being a UE defensive stand that saw UP’s Mike Gamboa miss a jumper from the corner with 24 seconds remaining.
Roi Sumang, who had already scored 20 points in the game, set up for one last offensive possession for UE. But with heavy defensive pressure on him, the guard found his big man waiting in the corner for a last-second jumper that sealed the win.
“Anybody who has the ball will have the chance to be a superhero there,” said UE coach Boysie Zamar of the last possession. “Kung sino ang umabot doon ang bola.”
Javier finished with 20 points and nine rebounds while Sumang had 20 points, five rebounds and seven assists as the Red Warriors notched just their second win of the season. Forward Adi Santos added 10 points and 15 rebounds, including nine of the offensive end, for UE.
“We played with the head and heart for 40 minutes of basketball. UE Warriors basketball,” added Zamar.
UP, which fell to 1-9 for the year, was led by Silungan, who had 16 points.
UE (79) – Javier 20, Sumang 20, Santos 10, Belleza 9, Sumido 8, Duran 6, Alberto 2, Hernandez 2, Flores 2, Villarias 0, Olayon 0, Galanza 0.
UP (76) – Silungan 16, Ball 14, Padilla 12, Soyud 10, Gamboa 8, Manuel 6, Lopez 4, Hipolito 4, Montecastro 2, Mbah 0, Romero 0, Gallarza 0, Asilum 0.
Quarterscores: 17-19, 37-40, 66-58, 79-76.
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