Gonzales, Gabane will FEU-Diliman to championship
CHARGE HAS COME. FEU-Diliman is the only team in the tournament to have wins against NU, Ateneo, and Adamson - all considered legitimate contenders.
L-Jay Gonzales, the star of Far Eastern University-Diliman's Game 1 win, only played 17 minutes in Game 2 of the Finals in the UAAP 79 Juniors Basketball Tournament.
But the eventual Finals MVP made sure that each and every second he was on the court counted.
Scoring all but two of his 12 points in the payoff period, Gonzales fronted the Baby Tamaraws' charge right through Nazareth School of National University, 81-73 on Friday at the San Juan Arena.
He also had a total of six assists and three rebounds, many of which came in the last 10 minutes. “Buti nakabawi siya kasi na-foul trouble siya,” head coach Allan Albano said of his heady guard who picked up three quick fouls in the first half.
Once Gonzales was on the court, it became a different ballgame for FEU-Diliman. His seven points and two assists detonated what turned out to be the decisive 17-4 blast that erased a six-point deficit and erected a 72-65 advantage inside the last three minutes.
John Lloyd Clemente and Niel Tolentino then clawed the Bullpups to as close as 71-75 with 57.6 to go only to see Kenji Roman’s free throws put an end to their title reign.
In the end, Roman had an 18-point, 15-rebound double-double and in the end, the championship was going back to Diliman after a little over four years. “Sinwerte lang kami sa endgame. Lumabas yung laro nila,” a beaming Albano expressed.
RJ Abarrientos added 13 points while Jun Gabane had nine points and six rebounds as the Baby Tamaraws swept the now-dethroned champions.
It was also Gabane who woke up FEU-Diliman after its slow start dug an eight-point hole for it early on. Pumping in seven points in the third quarter, the pint-sized guard’s big heart willed his team back into the game.
Clemente topped the scoring column for NU with 26 points, but was a non-factor in the endgame.
The Bullpups again short of back-to-back championships yet again, but they still ended the season as a Finalist for the sixth straight time.
FEU-DILIMAN 81 – Roman 18, Abarrientos 13, Gonzales 12, Gabane 10, Gloria 9, Jabel 5, Celzo 5, Torres 3, Sapinit 2, Baclay 2, Alforque Roy 2, Sevilla 0, Bieren 0, Alforque Ram 0
NU 73 – Clemente 26, Penano 10, Amsali 7, Manalang 7, Tolentino 6, Sarip 5, Malonzo 4, Coyoca 3, Callejo 3, Atienza 2, Fortea 0, Dela Cruz 0
QUARTER SCORES: 15-26, 30-34, 51-50, 81-73
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