On those last three isolation plays by the UE Red Warriors vs NU
by rick olivares
2:47 The UE Red Warriors were up 64-63. Head coach Boycie Zamar called for an isolation play with Roi Sumang on the left side of the arc.
NU’s Ray Parks, their best defender, was on Sumang.
At that point, Sumang was 5-16 from the field including 0-3 from beyond the arc. In a situation like this, the third year guard likes to break his guard’s ankles with a crossover going to the left before attacking the basket. He’s right handed which is odd because he goes left.
He’ll either stretch in for a lay-up or try to bank it in.
The Bulldogs ran a 2-3 zone against UE. Earlier, Sumang drove in on a similar play and scored on a bank shot.
This time, with a shooter in the left corner pocket and his other three teammates on the right side of the arc, he threw up a three-point shot with Parks all over him. 67-63 for UE.
NU came right back at UE with Parks scoring to cut the lead down to one.
The Red Warriors’ JM Noble attempted a shot but he missed. Noble fouled Gelo Alolino to send the second year Bulldog guard to the free throw line. Alolino only converted one of two to notch the count for the third and last time, 67-all with 1:12 left to play.
In UE’s next offensive, they still called for the same play. During an earlier time out, Zamar put in Bong Gallanza who was cold off the bench.
Sumang was supposed to be a decoy where he’d drive and look for Gallanza who the coaching staff felt would be wide open. It nearly worked. Sumang drove then kicked out to Gallanza who missed the corner triple shot.
NU now had a chance to close out the Warriors but the Buldogs were assessed a 24-second shot clock violation with the ball dying in Parks’ hands.
With 21.4 seconds left and the shot clock off, UE ran the same play for the third consecutive time.
In the previous two possessions, UE showed its options, a straightaway shot and a drive and kick out.
Sumang waited for Parks and what he was going to give. Parks sagged down to guard the line and to prevent a drive. Sumang had practiced this many times over at the Tanduay Gym in Quiapo where the team practices.
Parks looked back briefly to make sure that his teammates were in position in the event they needed to cover or to close down the lane.
Sumang dribbled out the shot clock. Then pulled up for a long long trey – from about 26-feet out – from Paul Lee range. Bang then bedlam. It was 70-67 plus a foul on the elbow by Parks.
Sumang converted the bonus shot to effectively give his side the win even with 3.7 seconds left in the game.
Unknown to NU, UE and Sumang regularly practice those kind of long long range shots or “Paul Lee distance” shots; a reference to the former Warrior King who routinely fired from beyond area code.
Now I am wondering and this is a question that is asked of coaches, do you guard the opposite team’s best player one-on-one?
NU had its best defender, Parks, on Sumang. Do you throw a double team at Sumang in that last play and let another player beat you? Or do you trust that your stopper will make that stop?
That is the same question that was asked of Jerry Sloan when he let Bryon Russell guard Michael Jordan on the final play. In Game One of the 1998 NBA Finals, MJ’s crossover left Russell a little too far out to guard the pull up jumper that gave the win to the Bulls. In Game Six, Russell got left behind on the drive and got burned on the pull up (sorry that was a mild push and Russell’s excuse that he got shoved is a sissy line).
I asked one UAAP coach what he would have done. He said that if UE ran it three straight times, he would make sure the ball would go to someone else. “Run a double team so he will give it up. We just have to be quick and aware in our rotations.”