UNIVERSITY of the East capped a remarkable preseason tournament with an 81-68 victory over erstwhile unbeaten National University to capture the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup title on Wednesday at The Arena in San Juan.
The Red Warriors used a 15-2 run to take control in a fourth quarter that also saw NU star Bobby Ray Parks foul out early.
It was a huge boost in morale for the squad that is looking to turn things around after languishing in the cellar in the UAAP last season.
NU, which was eyeing back-to-back Filoil titles, was leading 55-47 entering the fourth quarter but fell apart in the homestretch.
With the Bulldogs up 57-52, Lord Casajeros sparked a 9-0 run as he hit a jumper and a three-point play. On the next play, Parks was slapped with his fifth foul with still 5:44 remaining in the fourth.
The momentum swing was too much to overcome as NU’s woes was compounded by Emmanuel Mbe fouling out of the contest.
“We have everything to gain,” said UE coach Boycie Zamar. “Yun lang naman ang gusto naming makuha.”
Roi Sumang was named Master Most Valuable Player of the tournament after finishing the game with 18 points, nine rebounds, and six assists. He, however, got huge support from his teammates.
Ralf Olivarez had 19 points, eight rebounds, and two steals, while Casajeros added 16 markers including two triples. Charles Mammie grabbed 24 rebounds to go along with his 10 points.
UE became the second team since De La Salle (2006, 2007) to win two Filoil titles after capturing its first crown in 2008.
Aside from failing to win its second Filoil crown, NU also had its 21-game winning streak in the preseason tournament snapped dating back from last year.
UE (81) – Olivarez 19, Sumang 18, Casajeros 16, Mammie 10, Jumao-as 8, Javier 6, Noble 2, Hernandez 2, Santos 0, Sumido 0, Guion 0, Flores 0.
NU (68) – Parks 23, Alolino 12, Mbe 7, Villamore 6, Javillonar 5, Rosario 5, Aroga 5, Alejandro 3, Rono 2, Neypes 0, De Guzman 0.
Quarterscores: 14-16; 36-32; 47-55; 81-68.