FEU charges through NU en route to solo second
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 05, 2016 06:57 PM
HORNS UP. Defending champin FEU have now rang off four consecutive victories to put themselves right behind league-leading DLSU.
Surviving J-Jay Alejandro’s career-best and National University’s relentless rally, Far Eastern University powered through a 78-75 decision that moves them into solo second-place in the UAAP 79 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The Tamaraws worked on Wednesday at the MOA Arena in the same way they have registered a 5-2 win-loss record through the first round – balanced effort. “We have no specific one guy. Believer ako palagi sa mga pinapakita ng players ko,” coach Nash Racela said.
Monbert Arong topped their scoring column with 20 points, but it was Ron Dennison and Richard Escoto who connived for the back-to-back hits that broke a score of 71-all and created a four-point cushion for the defending champions with 66 ticks on the clock.
Alejandro’s one-of-two trip to the line was then countered by Dennison and Jojo Trinidad’s own splits for a 77-72 FEU lead.
Still with 9.8 seconds to go, the Bulldogs didn’t give up just yet as Matt Salem’s three pulled them to within two points only to see Wendell Comboy have for himself another split from the stripe. Revrev Diputado could have forced overtime, but his Hail Mary was way off.
Comboy, Escoto, and Axel Inigo combined for 36 points off the bench to help the Tamaraws secure their fourth consecutive victory. Reacting to the second-place they now have sole possession of, Racela said, “(It’s) within our target. I think, lahat naman ng teams, ang target to get wins para maka-advance.”
He was quick to add, however, “But this is the first round and we have seven games after this. This doesn’t really mean anything.”
The defending champions were well on their way to a win, leading by 11 early in the final frame before Alejandro took over and scored 15 points in the 21-10 rally that tied the tally for NU.
The Bulldogs ran out of gas in the endgame, however, to trip into a tree-way tie for third-place at 4-3. Still, Alejandro wound up with 31 points – the best output of his career.
FEU 78 – Arong 20, Comboy 14, Inigo 12, Escoto 10, Orizu 7, Trinidad 6, Dennison 5, Jose 4, Tuffin 0, Bayquin 0, Holmqvist 0, Ebona 0, Nunag 0
NU 75 – Alejandro 31, Aroga 14, Salem 9, Gallego 9, Salim 4, Diputado R 2, Aquino 2, Mosqueda 2, Abatayo 2, Morido 0, Diputado C 0, Sinclair 0, Rangel 0
QUARTER SCORES: 17-14, 39-32, 59-50, 78-75
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