by: David Tristan Yumol
MANILA – The promised victory remains unseen on the first day.
The University of the Philippines suffered today an overwhelming loss at the hands of host school University of the East, 87-59, in the opening game of the UAAP Season 77 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Returning point guard Mikee Reyes seemed boggled as he scored only once among his 12 attempts at the ring. Kyles Lao and transferee Dave Moralde were the only bright stars among the Maroons today, notching 18 and 11 points respectively.
The rest of the Fighting Maroons struggled in their shooting, finishing a low 27 percent. Also, they were out-rebounded by the Red Warriors, 29-58.
“It’s really not our game today. Our scorers failed to connect. Also, the ball is not well-played in this game,” head coach Rey Madrid said.
Reserved point guard Dan Alberto led the Red Warriors with 15 points, all from behind the arc, while Chris Javier added 12 points with six-of-nine shooting and nine rebounds.
Both teams traded leads in the first quarter, showing their brilliance in the three point area. Leading the three-point surge for the Maroons were Moralde and veteran JR Gallarza, while the Warriors answered it with the conversions of Alberto and Roi Sumang.
However, UE made the Maroons bite the dust on the second quarter, turning 19-16 first-quarter edge to a comfortable 45-26 lead.
The Warriors continued their rampage in the second half, highlighted by inside plays of Javier and imports Charles Mammie and Moustapha Arafat. Maroons, on the other hand, continued with their slump, scoring only ten points in the third quarter.
“We were not in a good flow as we failed to execute our offense and defense. Our poor shot selection shows that,” team captain Moriah Gingerich said.
The Maroons will next face National University Bulldogs on Wednesday, 2 PM, at the Big Dome.
UE 87 – Alberto 15, Javier 12, Jumao-as 10, De Leon 10, Mammie 8, Sumang 7, Arafat 7, Olayon 4, Guiang 4, Varilla 3, Galanza 3, Hernandez 2, Palma 1.
UP 59 – Lao 18, Moralde 11, Asilum 8, Gingerich 6, Gallarza 5, Dario 4, Harris 3, Reyes 2.
Quarter scores: 19-16, 45-26, 66-36, 87-59.