Fil-Am NCAA players shine during thrilling face-off

SALT LAKE CITY — College basketball’s top two Filipino-American players faced off for the first time Sunday night in a key Pac-12 matchup between the Utah Utes and Arizona State Sun Devils.

Sedrick Barefield, Utah’s starting shooting guard, and Remy Martin, Arizona State’s sixth man off the bench, both played significant roles for their respective teams.

Barefield scored 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting, knocking down five 3s, including a shot-clock buzzer beater late in the game.

“He did very well,” Martin said of his counterpart. “I don’t know how many points he had, but I’m sure he had a good amount, and I know he’s a great player, and I hope nothing but the best for him.”

Martin meanwhile did a little bit of everything, finishing the night with 11 points, four assists, one rebound and one steal.

“He’s a good player,” Barefield said. “He’s quick. Got a nice pull-up jumper. Nice handle. He’s athletic, so he fits right in with what they do at ASU.”

In a back-and-forth thriller, Martin and the fourth-ranked Sun Devils held off Barefield and the Utes for an 80-77 win, improving their record to 13-2.

Martin believes this could be a special year for his team.

“We’re competing everyday in practice,” Martin said. “We’re going to practice everyday with the mentality of ‘work as if it’s your last day.’ We’re winning. I’m happy. From the staff down, it’s incredible. And I’m happy to be part of ASU.”

With the loss, the Utes fall to 10-5, but Barefield is optimistic about his team.

“We feel like we can win any game that we step on the court and play,” he said. “So I think that we have a lot to learn from, but considering that they are the No. 4 team in the country, it’s encouraging, ’cause I feel like we’re right there.”

Barefield, a junior, and Martin, a freshman, are seen as the future of Philippine basketball.

Last week, the Basketball Federation of the Philippines added Martin to its preliminary youth roster for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

“It’s a blessing,” he said. “It’s an honor for me to even be mentioned. I thank the people who chose me. But I think it’s a complete blessing. I’m humbled by it, and I’m looking forward to the future of the Philippines, and hopefully we have big things coming.”

This was the first matchup between Barefield and Martin, but it won’t be the last. On Jan. 25, the two will face each other once more when the Sun Devils will host the Utes in Tempe, Arizona.

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