The Games that Play Us: Just a Bit of Guilty Pleasure

Paul Zamar led the Warriors to a shocker
over the DLSU Green Archers.
(image by Joseph Nebrida/

UE Red Warriors over the DLSU Green Archers, 74-69

Losing to the UE Red Warriors is a fate I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. It is a fate that is just absolutely embarrassing. No team deserves that.

But, admittedly, I felt a bit of guilty pleasure watching the Reds hold off the De La Salle Green Archers long enough to get their second win in what was supposed to be a winless season.

That, folks, is the look of utter despair.
(image by Joseph Nebrida/
And there are three guys UE’s fans should thank, or DLSU’s fans should hate, depending on one’s allegiance.

Let’s start with Paul Zamar, who drilled in 19 points in what might be the last win of his UAAP tour of duty. After the Warriors got their first win against NU in the first round, Zamar was relieved, even saying that he was just happy to finish his college career not as a talunan.

Well he can throw a fiesta now. The Warriors got a big fish by shocking all of Taft Avenue. Remember when Ateneo lost to NU in Season 70? Yes, THAT loss that prevented the Eagles from getting a twice-to-beat edge and, consequently, contributed significantly to Ateneo exiting in the Final Four? This loss has that same season-breaking aura, and IF (it’s still a big if after all) DLSU misses the Final Four bus, then it’s this loss that will reverberate with echoes of changes in player and/or bench personnel. Perhaps new blood and new brains? We’ll see how the Greenies react to this most unfortunate turn of events.

The second guy worthy of utmost praise is JM Noble. I remember Noble being part of the big 2008 recruiting class, along with now-collegiate-luminaries Ryan Buenafe, Nico Salva, Justin Chua, Joshua Webb, Jeric Fortuna and a host of other players from the Franz Pumaren-mentored RP Youth team. Noble, as I recall, wore the Green & White in the summer of ’08. He was recruited by La Salle and, based on several forums, was a lock to be a reliable swingman for the Archers. For whatever reason though, things didn’t pan out and he bolted Taft for nearby Recto just before the season opened. He lounged around under the tutelage of Lawrcene Chongson, as teammates Paul Lee, Elmer Espiritu, Pari Llagas and Raffy Reyes led UE to annual Final Four trips.

This season, however, Noble has seen the light of day, and at times has been the designated trigger-finger meant to propel the Warriors’ charge. He has been far from consistent in that role, but he was just awesome in this game. Noble banged in 16 markers on top of 5 boards and 2 rejections, displaying the all-around brilliance La Salle scouts probably saw in him during his Letran Squire days. Whereas Zamar took care of the penetration, Noble was the one canning the long toms that struck DLSU at the most defining moments of the encounter.

And the last guy UE can celebrate? He didn’t score in double figures. In fact, he committed quite a number of errors, but it was his unparalleled hustle that gave coach Jerry Codiñera numerous repossessions and his stingy defense that gave the Archers a dose of their own full-court-press medicine. Like Zamar, Lucas Tagarda is in his last season, and he surely doesn’t want to leave a talunan as well. He won’t. I remember this guy causing havoc in Game 2 of the Season 72 Finals against Ateneo, going everywhere hounding Jai Reyes, getting to the loose balls and making steals. He did the same thing yesterday, and now they’re suddenly not the lonely cellar-dweller. As of this writing, the Warriors are tied with the UP Fighting Maroons at 2-7. Can you feel the palpitations all the way from Diliman?

Lucas Tagarda's hustle helped UE upset La Salle.
(image by Joseph Nebrida/
Can UE keep on winning? Next up is Ateneo, and that’s next to impossible, but the Tigers on Sunday look a bit more vulnerable.

And La Salle? Here’s the weird thing. The Archers outshot the Warriors from the field. They had more threes, more steals and more blocks. They weren’t exactly left in the dust in rebounds and assists, too. The critical stat? Free-throws. La Salle missed 12 of 25 freebies. Despite everything awful that happened, they could’ve won had they hit enough free-throws.

But they didn’t, and their season might just be main casualty.

UE 74 – Zamar 19, Noble 16, Duran 7, Sumang 7, Santos 7, Casajeros 6, Enguio 4, Javier 4, Tagarda 4, Sumido 0, Flores 0
DLSU 69 – Torres 12, Webb 11, Revilla 9, Vosotros 9, Atkins 5, Marata 5, Van Opstal 4, de la Paz 4, Andrada 2, , Mendoza 2, Paredes 2, Tampus 2, Villanueva 2
QS: 17-19, 39-35, 56-52, 74-69

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