CHARLES Mammie made a rousing return from a one-game suspension while Roi Sumang delivered in the clutch anew as University of the East scraped past Ateneo, 72-68, in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena Wednesday.
Mammie, the UE big man from Sierra Leone who was banned for one game for a scuffle with an Adamson player, returned with a vengeance with 20 points and 23 boards, including a crucial rebound down the stretch that allowed the Red Warriors to put away their second in five games.
The Warriors, who snapped a two-game skid, dealt the defending champion Eagles their fourth loss in five games.
“I have to be very consistent that we have to learn from the champions,” Warriors coach Boycie Zamar said. “They are not five-time champions for nothing. And we learned so much from them in this game.”
It was a hard-fought victory for the Warriors, who are aching to bounce back big after lumbering in the cellar the past few seasons.
“These players have to wake up as early as now,” Zamar said. “They brought the wrong shoes (entering the season). Akala nila sa UAAP slippers pa rin eh. They have to bring their combat shoes…because the UAAP is a long journey.”
Juami Tiongson buried five triples to carry the scoring load for the Eagles, but the veteran playmaker hastened his team’s downfall when he fouled out after committing an offensive foul for warding off Adi Santos with 1:06 to go.
The Eagles could have regained the lead in that particular possession. Instead, Sumang extended the Warriors’ cushion to 70-67 after converting on a daredevil drive and contested layup on the other end.
Sumang, the unflappable guard from Tondo, finished with 14 points, four boards, and three assists.
The Warriors also found an unlikely offensive contribution from sophomore guard Dan Alberto, who gave UE its biggest lead at 46-31 in the third quarter, before the Eagles mounted a comeback that saw them temporarily take the lead at 67-66 after a mid-range jumper from Frank Golla with 1:22 left in the game.
Kiefer Ravena, in only his second game back from a right ankle injury, scored in double figures with 11, but shot just 3-of-10 from the field in 24 minutes of play.
UE (72) -- Mammie 20, Sumang 14, Alberto 14, Casajeros 8, Noble 7, Olivares 5, Santos 2, Javier 2, Olayon 0, Sumido 0, Jumao-as 0, Hernandez 0, Guion 0.
AdMU (68) -- Tiongson 17, Pessumal 12, Ravena 11, Newsome 10, Elorde , Golla 5, Buenafe 4, Erram 4, Asuncion 3, Tolentino 2, Lim 0, Enriquez 0, Capacio 0.
Quarterscores: 18-12; 37-31; 54-54; 72-68.