Warriors crash back to Earth after stinging loss

It was not the result University of the East coach Boycie Zamar would have wanted but if it will serve the Red Warriors in good stead for future battles, he’ll rather take it for the meantime.

“I think the loss will bring their (Red Warriors) feet back on the ground,” stated Zamar, moments after UE absorbed a 78-89 defeat against Far Eastern University Saturday, starting its UAAP Season 76 men’s basketball championships title bid on a sour note at the MOA Arena.

Billed by many as a title contender following its stunning championship run in the Filoil-Flying V pre-season tourney, the Red Warriors took control in the early goings behind Roi Sumang and Ralf Olivarez, leading by as many as 11 points, but lost steam in the face of the Tamaraws’ blinding blitz, anchored on Terrence Romeo and RR Garcia, in the second half.

Stressing “we didn’t play as a team,” the 46-year-old Zamar added: “We can’t afford to play that way. We have to play in full 40 minutes. Kung kaya nga nila dapat, 50 minutes or even more. Overall, it was a lackluster outing.”

Lackluster, indeed, and nobody else among the Red Warriors struggled more than import Charles Mammie, who finished with just seven points and 12 rebounds in a foul-plagued 17 minutes of action.

Tipped to provide the needed tenacity on both ends, the 6-foot-7 Sierra Leone native groped to find any kind rhythm and things went from bad to worse when he incurred his fourth foul at the 3:04 mark of the third, forcing Zamar to put him on the bench.

That big development appeared the needed spark for the Tamaraws, who quickly turned a 50-all count into a big 74-60 cushion with barely six minutes remaining in the fourth canto.

Zamar then admitted Mammie’s absence during that crucial stage clearly spelled the Red Warriors’ doom, saying: “Malaking factor talaga yung pagkaka-upo niya.
Nawalan na yung kumpyansa ng mga bata tumira kasi wala ng ri-rebound.”

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One of three freshmen, along with La Salle’s Jason Perkins and Alfred Aroga of National University, being scrutinized by league officials with their eligibility documents, Mammie somehow got affected, according to Zamar.

“Masyado niya rin kasi inisip yung mga papeles na kailangan para sa eligibility niya. He has to be disciplined on and off the court. Ngayong tapos na yung off-court battle, dapat mag-focus na lang siya sa totoong laro,” he said.

UE takes a six-day break before returning to action against NU on July 6 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum and Zamar is keeping his fingers crossed the Red Warriors will learn their bitter lesson quickly.

“Gusto ata nila susugatan muna ‘yung warrior. Yung nangyari, wake-up call talaga. Kailangan pa muna kasi nilang masugatan para gawin yung dapat gawin,” he said.