Far Eastern University stamped its class all over the University of the Philippines on Sunday.
With Prince Orizu, Wendell Comboy, and Jasper Parker all being a force on offense and their defense frustrating all of Bright Akhuetie, Paul Desiderio, and Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan, the Tamaraws charged right through the Fighting Maroons for a bounce back win.
While the Nigerian powerhouse only built on his career-high with 15 points and seven rebounds and Comboy and Parker merged for 23 markers, 11 boards, and 11 dimes in this one, it was a defense that suffocated State U’s high-powered attack that was the key to the win.
“It was a defensive game para sa amin. Yung opensa namin, bonus lang so good job by everyone because the players stuck to our game plan,” head coach Olsen Racela said.
Orizu could only agree. “It’s all about defense which coach O has been preaching a lot. Ever since the preseason, he has been talking about defense so that’s what we did,” he said.
In particular, the graduating center’s defense on Akhuetie was, without a doubt, a big part of the win.
With Orizu teaming up with Arvin Tolentino and Barkley Ebona, Akhuetie only had nine points, all but three coming in garbage time, to go along with 11 rebounds.
As it turns out, the 6-foot-10 big man also had a more personal reason for doing that. “Bright is like one of my best friends. We push each other to do our best because he’s a really good player,” he shared.
Yes, Orizu and Akhuetie, both far from in Nigeria, have remained close although they go to different schools.
Still whenever they match up, there is no doubt the two would be going at it. “I just needed to stand my ground because I did not want to be the friend who loses,” FEU’s center said.
That, he did and UP’s man in the middle would have to wait until the second round to get a chance at the bragging rights between good friends.
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