ROI Sumang scored University of the East’s final nine points, capping his heroics with a late four-point play over Bobby Ray Parks to lift the Red Warriors to a 71-67 victory over National University on Saturday in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
With the clock winding down to the final four seconds, Sumang buried a three-pointer from about two steps beyond the three-point arc to break a 67-67 deadlock, celebrating the amazing feat by exchanging high fives with former UE star and Tondo neighbor Paul Lee.
The UE gunner then buried the bonus free throw off Parks' foul to seal the win which came as a big relief for the Red Warriors, the pre-tournament favorites whose season got off on the wrong foot following a 78-89 loss to Far Eastern University last week.
“Ang hirap kasi after nung loss sa FEU, we were humbled, we were devastated, we were humiliated. Because we brought excess baggage when we won the Filoil (preseason tournament),” said UE coach Boycie Zamar.
“Now, Roi Sumang brought the right baggage and that was his big heart,” Zamar added.
Zamar also couldn't contain his emotions after Sumang's three-pointer, emerging teary-eyed from a group hug.
“It’s always hard to win the first game,” Zamar said.
The game-winner by Sumang was actually his second triple over two-time league MVP Parks late in the game as he hit the first from the same spot with 2:44 left in the fourth which gave UE a 67-63 lead. The 22-year-old finished with 19 points.
NU was able to tie the game at 67-all on a split from the free throw line by Emmanuel Mbe with 1:12 left, but the Bulldogs were charged with a 24-second shotclock violation on their attempt to take the lead, setting the stage for Sumang's late heroics.
Sierra Leonean center Charles Mammie had 15 points and 20 rebounds for the Red Warriors, while Gino Jumao-as added 11 points.
Emmanuel Mbe had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulldogs in their first official game without Alfred Aroga, who was withdrawn from the team after failing to meet the two-year residency required of foreign players.
The Bulldogs, who also had 11 points from Parks, dropped to a 1-1 card.
UE (71) – Sumang 19, Mammie 15, Jumao-as 11, Olivares 9, Santos 6, Javier 4, Noble 3, Sumido 2, Casajeros 2, Hernandez 0, Guion 0, Galanza 0, Flores 0.
NU (67) – Mbe 18, Parks 11, Khobuntin 8, Javillonar 8, Alejandro 8, Alolino 7, Rosario 4, Villamor 3, Rono 0, Neypes 0, De Guzman 0.
Quarterscores: 12-18; 32-31; 55-52; 71-67.