FEU survives scare from fighting UP, charges to seventh straight

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 22, 2016 04:44 PM
FEU survives scare from UP, charges to seventh straight
CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR. FEU had all the answers for a determined and a desperate UP side.

Defending champion Far Eastern University didn’t flinch at a 20-point disadvantage early on at the Araneta Coliseum, Saturday.

And so, they definitely weren’t flinching in the face of a rally of a determined and desperate University of the Philippines.

Not panicking in any way, the Tamaraws followed the lead of team captain Raymar Jose to a hardfought 63-60 triumph over the Fighting Maroons – their seventh straight win in the UAAP 79 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

The defending champions were ambushed by the upstarts and fell behind, 8-28, after the first 10 minutes. And that was just what they expected as coach Nash Racela said, “We knew from the start that it will be really hard to play against them because they are playing re-energized basketball.”

Once Jose settled them down, FEU outscored their opponents, 38-18, in the middle periods to tie the tally at 46-all heading into the final frame. “During the half, sabi ko, ‘If you want to do it the hard way, let’s do it the hard way,’” Racela shared.

The Tamaraws’ team captain then ignited a 9-2 blast that, all of a sudden, put them ahead, 57-48, inside the last six minutes. Still, UP kept coming and Jett Manuel willed in a triple to pull them to within three points, 60-63, with one minute to go.

The score would not move from that point, however, to cement the defending champions’ advance to 8-2. “We put ourselves in a hard position after the first quarter. Good thing we were still able to get the victory,” Racela expressed.

Jose also collared 12 rebounds as the FEU frontline outworked their counterparts with a 53-39 rebounding advantage. They also dominated offensive rebounds, 24-13, and second chance points, 19-9.

The Maroons had a couple of chances to force overtime, but Paul Desiderio’s triple try went in and out while Manuel’s fell short. As such, their playoff chances took another hit and they now stand at 3-8.

Manuel wound up with 16 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and three steals.

BOX SCORES

FEU 63 – Jose 20, Trinidad 9, Arong 8, Inigo 7, Orizu 6, Ebona 5, Tuffin 4, Comboy 2, Holmqvist 2, Escoto 0, Dennison 0, Denila 0, Bayquin 0

UP 60 – Manuel 16, Desiderio 13, Prado 10, Lim 5, Harris 4, Gomez de Liano 3, Dario 3, Moralde 2, Webb 2, Vito 2, Asilum 0, Jaboneta 0, Romero 0

QUARTER SCORES: 8-28, 27-36, 46-46, 63-60

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