UNIVERSITY of the East overcame a 16-point deficit to pull off a shocking 77-75 win over University of Santo Tomas and reach the finals of the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup at The Arena in San Juan on Friday.
Roi Sumang, Charles Mammie, and JM Noble each had 16 points for the Red Warriors, who managed to pull off the win despite trailing 34-50 in the third period.
The Red Warriors outscored the Tigers in the pivotal fourth, 27-19, capped by a Sumang dish-off to Mammie for a basket with 21 seconds left that sealed the win.
“First, second, and third quarter, that wasn’t the new UE Warriors that we’ve been training,” said coach Boycie Zamar. “Down the line, they showed their determination. That’s the most important and essential thing for them.”
After being dormants in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament the past few years, the Red Warriors will now vie for a major crown on Wednesday five years after winning the Filoil preseason tournament championship.
“We just came here with everything to gain. The last time nag-finals ang UE was five years ago. Coming from all this players na na-train natin for eight months, kahit papaano achievement na ‘yun,” said Zamar.
Mammie finished with a double-double effort after grabbing 10 rebounds and also had two blocks.
Kevin Ferrer tied the count for the last time at 71 with a triple. But Noble hit a basket and Mammie scored off that Sumang assist for a four-point UE lead, 77-73.
Paolo Pe cut the deficit for UST to just two, but UST failed to convert off a turnover when Ed Daquioag’s shot went out after the buzzer.
Ferrer had 19 points while Karim Abdul added 14 and 13 rebounds for the Tigers, who reached the semifinals for the first time since the league’s inception in 2006.
UE (77) - Sumang 16, Mammie 16, Noble 16, Javier 9, Jumao-as 5, Santos 5, Casajeros 3, Sumido 3, Olivarez 2, Hernandez 2, Flores 0, Bonleon 0, Guion 0, Olayon 0.
UST (75) - Ferrer 19, Abdul 14, Teng 12, Mariano 12, Pe 8, Bautista 6, Daquioag 4, Lo 0, So 0, Hainga 0.
Quarterscores: 14-22; 26-39; 50-56; 77-75