Tamaraws live to fight another day against Eagles

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 19, 2017 06:16 PM
Tamaraws live to fight another day against Eagles
NOT TODAY. Arvin Tolentino and the rest of FEU gave graduating players Ron Dennison and Prince Orizu another game, at the very least, to play.

Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum wasn’t going to be Ron Dennison’s last game in the UAAP.

Dropping eight points in what proved to be the pivotal push in the third quarter, the graduating guard spearheaded the Tamaraws’ charge right through erstwhile dominant Ateneo de Manila University, 80-67.

With a big boost from their floor leader, the Morayta-based team remained alive and kicking in the tournament. “Ang nakuha lang namin is take away the twice-to-beat advantage. We’re really looking forward to the next game to see if we can do it again,” head coach Olsen Racela said in his post-game conference.

Indeed, they will have to do it all over again on Wednesday at the MOA Arena if they are to make their way into the Finals.

Still, the signs were nothing but encouraging for FEU as a 16-4 rush in the third let them break away from a tied tally of 38-all and onto a lead of 56-42 at the midway mark of the quarter.

Setting it all off was Dennison who buried a booming triple and then added another three as well as a layup over the outstretched arms of Thirdy Ravena in that pivotal push.

The Blue Eagles decreased their deficit to seven, 54-61, early in the final frame only to see the Tamaraws answer with a 14-4 run for a 75-58 advantage with 2:31 remaining. “We were really confident going into the fourth quarter that we will finish strong,” the mentor said.

Not long after, Racela and his boys were celebrating becoming only the second squad to down Ateneo in the tournament.

In the end, the veteran from Cebu had 17 points on top of eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals to his name.

Right there with him, extending his collegiate career, were former Blue Eagles Arvin Tolentino and Hubert Cani who had 13 and 11 points, respectively.

Another graduating player, big man Prince Orizu, also made his presence felt with 10 points and five rebounds while energy guy Richard Escoto made an impact as well with nine markers and seven boards.

This is FEU’s second straight convincing victory – this one on the heels of their conquest of fellow playoff team Adamson University a week ago.

Conversely, the Blue Eagles suffered their second straight setback following a 13-0 start to the season.

Ravena top-scored for them in this one with 17 points and six rebounds. Playing their opponents’ game instead of their own, however, they are put in a must-win situation for the first time in the season.

The winner between FEU and Ateneo will advance into the Finals where defending champion De La Salle University awaits.

BOX SCORES

FEU 80 – Dennison 17, Tolentino 13, Cani 11, Orizu 10, Escoto 9, Inigo 8, Trinidad 5, Parker 4, Ebona 3, Comboy 0, Bayquin 0, Ramirez 0, Stockton 0, Tuffin 0

ATENEO 67 – Ravena 17, Nieto Mi 13, Nieto Ma 11, Go 9, Tolentino 5, Mendoza 4, Asistio 3, Tio 3, Verano 2, Ikeh 0, Black 0, Mamuyac 0, Mallillin 0

QUARTER SCORES: 21-15, 38-35, 59-48, 80-67

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