WARRIORS CROWNED KING OF KINGS
MANILA, November 28, 2002 (STAR) By Joey Villar - What it could not do in the UAAP, University of the East does it in the Champions’ League 2002.
Drawing inspiring efforts from James Yap and Ronald Tubid, the Warriors outplayed the Far Eastern Tams in the homestretch to eke out a thrilling 57-55 victory yesterday and crown themselves champions before an ecstatic UE crowd at the Makati Coliseum. Yap drained two three-pointers in the fourth quarter while Tubid had three key foul shots down the stretch that sealed UE’s second straight title in two months, the first being the Bantay Bata 163 UAAP-NCAA Benefit Games.
It was also a win that somehow eased the pain of the Warriors’ heartbreaking Final Four collapse against eventual UAAP titlists Ateneo Eagles.
"Kahit papaano, unti-unti na naming nakakalimutan ‘yung pagkatalo namin sa Ateneo sa Final Four," said UE coach Boyzie Zamar, who was also named the best coach in this meet organized by Joe Lipa.
Curiously, organizers and sponsors awarded the MVP trophy to UE guard Paul Artadi although it was the pair of Yap and Tubid who did most of the hardwork.
"Hindi ko na iniisip iyon, basta ako inisip ko lang bigyan ng isa pang title ang UE bago man lang ako umalis," said Tubid, who dedicate this win to his late father Rogelio, who died three years back.
After coming out flat in Game One’s disappointing 58-82 defeat, the Tamaraws performed better but could not hit the shots when they needed it most in the final minute.
Far Eastern, a late replacement for dethroned UAAP champion La Salle, blew several opportunities to steal a win and force a deciding Game 3.
Arwind Santos, this year’s UAAP rookie of the year, muffed key jumpers at endgame but it was Dennis Miranda’s foiled entry to pass that hastened FEU’s downfall.
The Tamaraws had one more chance to snatch victory from the hands of the Warriors with 2.9 seconds to go but Santos fumbled and when Miranda recovered the ball, he could not launch a decent shot at the basket as time expired.
Yap, hero in UE’s semifinal win over Cebu champion University of Visayas, and Tubid combined for 29 points, making up for the absence of Olan Omiping, who missed the game due to fractured right finger bone he sustained in the series opener.
Earlier, the trio of Andrew Cruz, Chris Quimpo and Marco Benitez of Ateneo outgunned Frederick Hubalde, Jamal Vizcarra and Jinino Manansala, 69-42, in the three-point shootout sponsored by Petron.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
2002 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS
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