Now that’s a way to book a breakthrough win.
UE pulled off one of UAAP Season 81’s biggest upsets so far by punishing FEU, 90-65, on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Red Warriors were red-hot right from the start and took a 43-31 lead at halftime behind a combined 30 points from Alvin Pasaol and Jason Varilla.
They continued to pile on the Tamaraws’ miseries by keeping their foot on the pedal in the second half, where they mounted a lead that rose to 31, 81-50, with four minutes left in the final quarter after a made three-pointer by Pasaol.
“At least the monkey is off my back as a coach. Ganito pala ‘yung feeling na manalo ng first game mo sa college. Sobrang blessed and humbled ako. Buti nanalo na kami, at least. It’s a relief,” head coach Joe Silva said.
One major change that UE’s coaching staff made entering this game was by having Pasaol come off the bench. He didn’t come in until 6:27 left in the first period.
“Number one, we did it to preserve him in the end game. Number two, I just wanted to have a defensive mindset coming to the game so I put the defensive five in. Not that Alvin doesn’t play defense, but of course, mas kailangan siya sa offense. I also wanted the second unit to produce. With Alvin there, mas stable kami,” explained Silva.
“And I want Alvin to read the game, para pagdating niya alam niya kung saan siya aatake, pagpasok niya alam niya ‘yung gagawin niya, what he has to do: does he have to facilitate? Does he have to create? Does he have to score?” he continued.
That move seemed to pay dividends even though it didn’t seem evident early on. Pasaol topped the team in scoring (25 points, 13 rebounds, five steals, two assists), and he even posted a season-high plus-39.
“Strategy ni coach Joe ‘yun. Maganda rin ‘yung strategy na off the bench ako. Sabi nga ni coach, ‘Pagpasok ni Alvin, gutom na gutom na siya at ready na siya maglaro,” Pasaol said of the benching.
Varilla added 17 points and five threes (a career-high) for the Red Warriors, while Philip Manalang impressed with a 13-point, 12-assist double-double.
Hubert Cani and Arvin Tolentino scored 12 and 11 for FEU, who slid to an even 2-2 for the season.
UE (90) – Pasaol 25, Varilla 17, Manalang 13, Bartolome 8, Maloles 8, Conner 7, Beltran 3, Gallardo 2, Cullar 2, Strait 2, Lacap 0, Sobrevega 0.
FEU (65) – Cani 12, Tolentino 11, Ramirez 7, Comboy 6, Bienes 6, Orizu 5, Tuffin 5, Escoto 5, Parker 4, Gonzales 4, Inigo 0, Ebona 0, Stockton 0, Bayquin 0, Jopia 0.