by rick olivares
It was the University of the East’s turn to face all these questions after they were pounded mercilessly all game long by Southwestern University en route to a 80-63 loss that saw them bounced from the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup.
The SWU Cobras answered their own questions about their own resolve after flopping big time in their match against new nemesis La Salle the day before in a 64-59 defeat.
The Cobras won their fifth match in six outings and advanced to the quarterfinals of the premier collegiate summer basketball league because of the following:
The night of SWU’s loss, I had a chat with the Cameroonian. He got so emotionally caught up in the match with La Salle that he forgot to keep his head in the game. His two fouls on Arnold Van Opstal when the Green Archers forged ahead were of the frustration kind. Sanjo said that he’d play his usual smart but power game against UE.
And he set the tone for the game. He relentlessly attacked UE and got Charles Mammie, Chris Javier and Moustapha Arafat in foul trouble.
He was the paragon of power and hustle. Sanjo finished with 34 huge points – best in the tournament so far while grabbing 11 rebounds, dishing off three assists, and chalking up a steal and a block. He had more points that all the UE centers put together.
He was highly active in every quarter including the fourth when UE chopped the lead down to nine. His three-pointer with 50 seconds left was the coup de grace for SWU.
According to my Cebuano media friends, after SWU lost Ben Mbala to La Salle, everyone has been trying to find their own version of Sanjo, a power player with a incredible work ethic.
The Cobras shot the daylights out of the Hoops Dome
Just when UE was trying to figure out a way to stop Sanjo, Jasper Parker kept the defense honest with his outside shooting (6-13). When either Tallo or Parker went to the bench, Anton Pardo came in and blew the Red Warriors away on 7-11 shooting. Daryl Goloran hit his 15-footers.
Collectively, SWU shot 53% from the field. A lot of those baskets (even a few from Parker) came from inside the paint. They went back to what got them those first four wins and that was by pounding the rock inside.
The Cobras were able to sustain their level of intensity
SWU took three of the four quarters. And yet there was no drop off in their play even if they gave up the third period that UE took (scoring 20 to the 25 points of the Red Warriors). With the bench of Goloran, Pardo, and Justin Aboude delivering quality minutes, it afforded the starters valuable rest time.
Mac Tallo didn’t shoot too much this time around but he was solid at quarterback as he passed for eight assists (2:1 ration on assists to turnovers) while adding a steal and a block.
What happened to UE?
The saying in the vernacular is, “Naunahan sila ng SWU.” Once SWU got the jump on them for a 12-2 lead in the first period, they never stepped off the gas pedal. UE was unable to impose its style of basketball with their trapping defense.
The trap worked in the third period and a portion of the fourth but the 20-point lead was a little too much to overcome.
The inability of the centers to stop Sanjo was their undoing. The help sagged inside leaving a lot of room for Parker and Pardo to check their gun sights before firing for effect.
When UE tried to get those points back, their own gunners in Bong Galanza and Paul Varilla (both with zero points) fired blanks.
Their only three bright spots were Dan Alberto who scored nine points but was checked in the second half. Chris Javier finally stood up to the taller opposition (it took a near fight with Charles Mammie -- that was eventually resolved -- during the halftime break to set him off). Javier finished with 17 points, eight rebounds, and one assist but gave up a crucial turnover at the height of UE’s rally. Nevertheless, it is hoped that this could be the game where he finally contributes on a regular basis.
The last bright spot for UE was Roi Sumang. What hasn’t been said about this kid who has been playing through injuries (and he had this niggling thigh injury for the past couple of weeks that hurt his explosiveness).
When UE made its comeback, Sumang drove every time and got and-ones on Tallo (twice) as well one each on Goloran and Adam Mohammed.
Losing Gino Jumao-as to two unsportsmanlike fouls hurt UE for there was no other facilitator. Renz Palma tried his best but was whistled for quick fouls rendering him largely ineffective.
When UE chopped the lead down to nine with 2:34 left in the third after Roi scored the second of his and-ones on Tallo, the Red Warriors couldn’t get a break from the referees. Three non-calls for traveling and two over-the-back fouls. While that hurt their momentum, that doesn’t mean they would have won it because for a while, they stopped SWU but were unable to convert because they would turn the ball over or take some bad shot.
It is clearly a painful loss. However, like SWU a day before, this is something they should learn from and serve them in good stead in time for the UAAP.