FEU fights back, forces do-or-die with Ateneo
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 26, 2016 06:25 PM
I HAVE A DREAM. Nash Racela and FEU are one win away from spoiling the so-called Dream Finals between Ateneo and La Salle.
Nash Racela said that there’s a different matchup in his mind for the Finals of the UAAP 79 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Far Eastern University is one win away from making his dream come true.
Battling back from a deficit of as much as 10 points, Raymar Jose and Monbert Arong willed the Tamaraws right through Ateneo de Manila University in a 62-61 come-from-behind win on Saturday at the MOA Arena.
Winners in the war of attrition, FEU extended their reign for just a little longer.
In doing so, the defending champions also discarded the Blue Eagles’ twice-to-beat advantage. The two teams fight again next Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum for the right to face De La Salle University in the Finals.
In earlier interviews, Racela said that an Ateneo-La Salle Finals is in the offing, but he and FEU have a grander scheme for themselves. “We’ll try our best to deny that dream because I have a better dream,” he expressed then.
It almost wasn’t so as Ateneo took control of the heavyweight bout with a 16-2 haymaker in the third quarter for a 39-29 lead. “I remember during the quarter break, I was telling the players not to break down. Buti na lang they accepted the challenge,” Racela said.
Indeed, the Tamaraws were only knocked down and not out and charged right back to within 49-55 inside the last five minutes. It was there that Jose and Arong merged for seven in the 10 straight points that boosted them in front, 59-55, with 22 ticks to go.
Thirdy Ravena dropped a long-range bomb to keep things interesting at 58-60, but Ron Dennison’s couple of charities proved to be more than enough cushion for FEU.
Ravena made good on a heave from halfcourt when the final buzzer sounded, but by then, the Tamaraws were well on their way towards fighting another day.
In all, Jose, Arong, and Prince Orizu had 23 points in the final frame to outscore all of their opponents who only mustered 19. “I think form the first to the 16th player, nag-contribute today. Wala akong naaalalang isang player na pinasok ko na hindi nakapagbigay ng contribution,” Racela said.
Jose finished up his power performance with 20 points and 23 rebounds while Arong fired 13 points – all in the second half.
Aaron Black paced the Eagles with 11 points. Unable to match up with FEU in the endgame, however, they saw their six-game winning streak get snapped.
FEU 62 – Jose 20, Arong 13, Orizu 9, Comboy 8, Dennison 6, Inigo 4, Tuffin 2, Escoto 0, Trinidad 0, Ebona 0, Holmqvist 0, Nunag 0, Bayquin 0, Denila 0
ATENEO 61 – Black 11, Ravena 10, Asistio 9, Go 8, Verano 7, Ikeh 5, Nieto Mi 4, Nieto Ma 3, Wong 2, Porter 2, Tolentino 0
QUARTER SCORES: 10-10, 23-20, 35-42, 62-61
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