Baby Tams get twice-to-beat, give Eaglets dose of own medicine
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Feb 09, 2017 05:50 PM
REVERSAL OF ROLES. This time around, it was FEU-Diliman that had a heartbreaker of a triple for Ateneo.
What happened six days ago happened again on Thursday at the San Juan Arena.
Only this time, it was the other way around.
RJ Abarrientos buried a big-time triple, LJ Gonzales brought some more cushion, and Jun Gabane sealed the deal in Far Eastern University’s 64-62 comeback victory versus Ateneo de Manila High School.
The three youngsters all connived to turn what was a four-point deficit inside the last two minutes into a two-point win – a win that earned them the second-seed and a twice-to-beat advantage in the UAAP 79 Juniors Basketball Tournament.
Disaster struck from the get-go as the Baby Tamaraws found themselves in a 12-point hole after the first quarter before, little by little, clawing themselves back into the game.
After much work, FEU-Diliman tied the tally at 58 only to see RV Berjay and SJ Belangel go back-to-back and re-establish a four-point advantage in favor of the Blue Eaglets.
It was at that point that Gonzales went right at 6-foot-11 Kai Sotto and got a couple of charities for his troubles.
After those two makes and a defensive stop, Gonzales then found a wide open Abarrientos who wasted no time in rising and launching a triple. The ball touched nothing but net and completed the Baby Tamaraws’ fightback from as much as 16 points down.
Following another defensive stop, Gonzales was sent to the line where he made one-of-two for a two-point FEU-Diliman lead.
In the ensuing possession, Belangel took the lead for Ateneo, but was called for an offensive foul due to the pesky defense of Gabane. That call essentially ended the game even though Gonzales proceeded to muff on both of his free throws.
Jack Gloria topped the scoring column for the Baby Tamaraws with 14 points. However, it was Abarrientos’ clutch trey, part of his 10 total markers, which was undoubtedly the turning point of the game.
It was some sort of poetic justice for the Diliman-based squad as last Friday, it was a big-time triple from Ateneo’s Joaqui Manuel that essentially forced a playoff for the second-seed.
Belangel led the losing effort for the Blue Eaglets with 23 points and six rebounds.
The two teams will be seeing more of each other as second-seed FEU-Diliman and third-seed Ateneo will wage war again on Tuesday still at the San Juan Arena.
FEU-DILIMAN 64 – Gloria 14, Abarrientos 10, Roman 10, Celzo 9, Sapinit 7, Gonzales 6, Gabane 6, Sevilla 2, Torres 0, Jabel 0, Alforque Roy 0, Baclay 0, Bieren 0, Alforque Ram 0
ATENEO 62 – Belangel 23, Manuel 13, Ildefonso 10, Berjay 10, Credo 2, Sotto 2, Escalona 2, Salazar 0, Angeles 0
QUARTER SCORES: 6-20, 24-37, 45-49, 64-62
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