ROI SUMANG delivered in the clutch to lift University of the East to a nail-biting 77-74 victory over Lyceum on Friday at the Technological Institute of the Philippines gym to advance to the Sweet 16 of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League Luzon-Metro Manila qualifiers.
Sumang scored four of the Red Warriors’ last five points as UE overcame a three-point deficit in the final two minutes to clinch one of the two slots for Metro Manila in the Sweet 16 step-ladder.
UE will next face Centro Escolar University on Monday in Tanauan City, while another match features Luzon teams Lyceum-Subic and University of Batangas.
Also vying in the Luzon-Metro Manila qualifiers are UAAP teams University of Santo Tomas, Far Eastern University and National University, and NCAA squads Letran, San Sebastian and Perpetual Help.
The winner in the region will join UAAP champion La Salle, NCAA titlist San Beda, and Southwestern University in the Final Four.
A few players which included Charles Mammie arrived late for the game resulting in the Sierra Leonean import being benched until the final 1:45 of the game when the match was still tightly contested.
“I don’t want to lose face to the UE community,” said UE coach Boycie Zamar. “He has to follow the rules and I have to send a message.”
Sumang drove to the basket and drew a foul for a three-point play that tied the game at 74 before another drive gave UE the lead with 47 seconds to play.
Sumang, who finished with 19 points, preserved the efforts of Bong Gallanza, who had 13 of his game-high 20 points in the second half that allowed UE to gain headway.
Before Sumang’s heroics for UE, Jeremiah Taladua capped off a 5-0 run for Lyceum to give a 74-71 lead to the Pirates, who were wildly cheered by the packed crowd at the TIP gym. A Lyceum win would have given the TIP Engineers the slot in the Sweet 16.
UE (77) – Gallanza 20, Sumang 19, Olivares 11, Hernandez 6, Jumao-as 5, Alberto 5, Javier 3, Olayon 3, Flores 2, Casajeros 2, Mammie 1, Sumido 0.
Lyceum (74) – Baltazar 19, Mbomiko 18, Zamora 8, Ko 8, Ambohot 6, Taladua 5, Francisco 5, Lesmoras 4, Azores 2, Mendoza 2, Soliman 0.
Quarterscores: 12-11; 37-33; 54-50; 77-74.