Red Warriors on a roll in preseason hoops

AFTER three years going winless, University of the East now has scored back-to-back victories in the Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup following the Red Warriors’ 75-64 triumph over the shorthanded Mapua University Cardinals on Friday at Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

Last Wednesday, the Red Warriors barged into the win column for the first time since October 2019 at the expense of the Arellano University Chiefs, 58-50.

They sustained their momentum and morale with Calvin Payawal firing 16 points built on four triples and Onzo Lorenzana contributing 12 points against the Cardinals.

They joined forces in a 17-6 run that turned a 31-27 lead midway the second quarter into a 48-33 advantage at half time.

“It was a rough start for me, but my teammates kept picking me up,” said the one-and-done forward Payawal, who scattered five points while Lorenzana got six points in that run. “Because of them, I was able to get as many baskets as I could.”

The Cardinals, even without several of the core that played in the previous National Collegiate Athletic Association Finals, cut the deficit to three, 55-58, late in the third period before Abdul Sawat tallied six points in UE’s 11-4 response that gave the Red Warriors a 69-59 breather inside the last five minutes.

Sawat wound up with an all-around 12 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals to help the Red Warriors hike their record to 2-3 in Group A.

“A win is a win. You see the lineup of the other team, I believe we had an advantage in today’s game,” UE head coach Jack Santiago said. “But our main focus why we joined is to perfect our timing.”

Mapua remained winless after three games as the Cardinals continued to miss the services of Toby Agustin, Warren Bonifacio and Bryan Lacap.

First-year player Ivan Cudiamat led the Cardinals with 16 points and six rebounds.

College of Saint Benilde got back on track after jumping University of Perpetual Help, 91-78, while Steve Nash Enriquez and LA Casinillo outdueled Jerom Lastimosa and Joem Sabandal as National University defeated Adamson University, 63-57, also on Friday.

San Sebastian College-Recoletos barged into the win column courtesy of a come-from-behind 79-73 victory over winless San Beda University.