University of the East coach Derrick Pumaren was up in arms over the disqualifying foul called on rookie center Wil Bartolome which he deemed “was the turning point” of the Red Warriors’ third straight setback in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tourney on Sunday night.
Pumaren couldn’t help but expressed his frustrations after the Red Warriors’ rally came up short, leading to a painful 59-67 setback against defending champion Far Eastern U at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, keeping them winless after three starts.
“We lost because of that,” he said, bodily referring to the crucial disqualifying foul infraction slapped on the 6-foot-6 Bartolome who hit the back and face of Tamaraws veteran Ron Dennison with his elbows during a rebound play in the stretch.
That development came simultaneously when UE big man Clark Derige knocked down a corner triple, helping cut what once stood a 12-pint deficit to just 59-62 with 86 seconds remaining.
“The call was just a foul. Why did they change it to a disqualifying foul? He (Bartolome) was 6-6, syempre tatamaan niya above the shoulder cause he was boxing out. Hindi naman intentional,” lamented Pumaren.
“I don’t know what transpired there that they changed it to a disqualifying foul. The referees should call the fouls, not run the show. I think they should have let us play. I don’t agree totally with that. Kung siniko niya, hindi ako magko-complain, but I saw it on the screen. That was a big call, I mean big change of call.”
Another reason for Pumaren to be frustrated was the Red Warriors’ collective struggle from the field, making just 21 of their 71 attempts while allowing the Tamaraws to have a plus-15 advantage in rebounding.
“I’m frustrated, at the same time, disappointed. As I’ve told the team, we make stops, we play defense, but the game of basketball is putting the ball inside the hoop,” he shared. “How can we win if we’re shooting 29 percent? Until we found ways to put the ball inside the hoop, that’s when we’ll start winning.”
Mark Olayon was the lone UE player to score in double figures with 12 points.
Star guard Bonbon Batiller was hardly a factor, coming up with just three markers in six attempts, underscoring the Red Warriors’ latest predicament. – By Jerome Lagunzad
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