FOR University of the East, the victory over University of Santo Tomas on Tuesday meant an extension of the Warriors’ season.
For Charles Mammie, it meant a new lease on life for his college playing career.
The import from Sierra Leone arrived at the Araneta Coliseum late and was benched for the first half before being fielded by coach Derrick Pumaren upon the prodding of the other Red Warriors players.
On one condition.
“I told them, ’You better pray that we win. If not, that’s going to be it for him (Mammie). You won’t see him in a UE uniform again,” Pumaren told his team.
Fortunately for Mammie, the Red Warriors had a hot third-quarter run to beat University of Santo Tomas, 78-73, and clinch a playoff for the last Final Four berth against National University.
Mammie, who is eligible to play at least one more year in the UAAP, arrived at the Araneta Coliseum 30 minutes before the game, but late for UE’s call time.
Pumaren said he was hell bent on benching Mammie the whole game but was prevailed upon by his players in the all-important game. Mammie eventually finished with seven points and five rebounds.
“I wasn’t going to use him,” said Pumaren, who has already benched Mammie in a preseason game and even UE star Roi Sumang weeks ago. “You know me, discipline is the number one priority of this team.”
“If I can do that to Roi, I can do it to him (Mammie). Even if we sacrifice losing this ball game. But the boys asked me if he can play,” said Pumaren.
Mammie’s explanation? He had to go back for his socks in his pad in Makati but got stuck in traffic.
“I was late. I come back from EDSA and I was late,” Mammie said.
Pumaren said being stuck in traffic is not an excuse.
“Traffic is not a reason. I wasn’t born yet, there is already traffic in Manila. It’s not an excuse. He left at 10:30 a.m. and not make it here. I don’t know kung saan siya galing,” said Pumaren.
Mammie was happy that he got the support of his teammates, prompting Pumaren to change his mind.
“They got my back. We are all family,” said Mammie.