The Games that Play Us: Goodbye Games

Jelo Montecastro and the Maroons missed their
chance to end the season with a win.
(image by Roehl Niño Bautista/

UE Red Warriors over the UP Fighting Maroons, 68-54

For a while there, when they were up, 11-2, it seemed like the UP Fighting Maroons would be able to sweep the UE Red Warriors this season.

And then the Warriors unloaded their own run that showed everyone why they’re to be feared in Season 75.

Graduating player Biboy Enguio had his best all-around performance of the season, nailing 18 points, grabbing 6 rebounds, getting 4 steals and blocking 2 shots as the Recto Red relegated the doomed Dilimanians to the bottom-most spot in the standings.

Biboy Enguio unleashed an offensive
barrage on UP.
(image by Roehl Niño Bautista/
Coach Jerry Codiñera, despite not having the most stacked deck in the whole league, should be given a pat on the back. He has squeezed everything he could out of the Warriors. The result is that they’ve won 3 more games than practically anybody predicted and they didn’t finish last. In fact, save for the shaky first few minutes, they kind of dominated in this encounter.

UE was better in EVERY aspect here. They shot better from the field (38%-31%), from the stripe (88%-82%), and from rainbow country (38%-20%). They had more rebounds, more assists, more steals, and more blocks. The only stat where UP had the lead was in turnovers, which isn’t a promising thing if you’re coach Ricky Dandan.

Enguio’s farewell performance was in stark contrast to that of fellow super senior Paul Zamar. The former UE Page made just one field goal and finished with just 4 points, but he will surely be remembered for more than that. What’s amazing about Zamar is that he stuck with the program, stayed put this season, even if he knew (he must’ve known, right?) that they had a host of inexperienced players and generally had no chance of making a serious Final Four run. Unlike Paul Lee, Ken Acibar and some other guys who could’ve opted to retain their slots in the team but chose to leave, Zamar endured what was probably his worst season in a Red Warriors jersey. And he’s heroic for that. That alone makes him worth more than his production in his goodbye game.

Paul Zamar bids farewell to the league a hero.
(image by Roehl Niño Bautista/
On the other hand, UP absorbs yet another loss, and its 9th straight setback since upsetting the FEU Tamaraws in the 1st round. The Maroons, despite improving by 2 wins in Season 74, looked more like their Season 73 selves in the 2nd round, and even if they have another year of maturity under their belts in preparation for next year, the Iskos’ chances aren’t bound to see much improvement.

Miggy Maniego laid his heart out in his goodbye game
for the Fighting Maroons.
(image by Roehl Niño Bautista/
UE, though, should be dangerous next year. Armed with promising young guns like Roi Sumang, Chris Javier, Adrian Santos, and the ever-improving game of JM Noble, the Warriors should make more waves in Season 75. This team reminds me of the Adamson team from about 4 years go when the likes of Jerick Cañada and Jan Colina were still greenhorns. They were raw, but full of promise, and look where they are now. If coach Jerry plays his cards right, then skyrocketing to the top might come sooner rather than later.

UE 68 – Enguio 18, Noble 12, Santos 12, Sumang 8, Javier 8, Zamar 4, Duran 2, Tagarda 2, Casajeros 2, Flores 0, Sumido 0
UP 54 – Maniego 14, Juruena 12, Gomez 6, Silungan 5, Gamboa 5, Montecastro 5, Wierzba 3, Mbah 2, Romero 2, Gingerich 0, Manuel 0, Wong 0
QS: 18-18, 37-26, 55-45, 68-54

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