Arvin Tolentino wins UAAP 81 fourth-seed for FEU

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 21, 2018 06:03 PM
Arvin Tolentino wins UAAP 81 fourth-seed for FEU
Arvin Tolentino and Ken Tuffin just didn't give up - and now, FEU is in the Final Four for the sixth straight season

For the fourth time in a row, it will be Far Eastern University up against Ateneo de Manila University in the Final Four.

The Tamaraws set up a date with the defending champions after Arvin Tolentino’s triple proved to be the difference against De La Salle University, 71-70, in the battle for the fourth-seed in the middle of the Araneta Coliseum, Wednesday.

The two teams figured in a fight for the fourth-seed in the UAAP 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament and, as expected, the contest was close and had nine lead changes and eight deadlocks.

It was the Green Archers who had a four-point lead, 70-66, with 63 ticks to go on the clock until Ken Tuffin’s long two pulled FEU just behind by two.

After another defensive stop, Jasper Parker then found Tolentino with an open look right on top of the arc.

Tolentino, like he always does, didn’t hesitate and launched the long-range missile that ultimately took down La Salle and took the Tamaraws to the Final Four.

La Salle still had 3.1 seconds to win the game and head coach Louie Gonzalez drew up a perfect play that had Aljun Melecio lobbing an inbound right to Santi Santillan who was positioned below the ring.

Santillan was able to put up a shot, but the ball only hit the right side of the right before falling out.

Not long after, FEU was celebrating its sixth straight trip to the playoffs – the longest active streak at present.

Of course, Tolentino and Tuffin wouldn’t have had those chances if not for the game-long hard work of Barkley Ebona who, by his lonesome, made sure his team overcame the foul trouble to Prince Orizu as well as the formidable opposing frontline of Justine Baltazar, Brandon Bates, Taane Samuel, and Santillan.

In the end, Ebona posted a 12-point, 16-rebound double-double while Tolentino and Tuffin also added 15 and 11 markers of their own, respectively.

Now, the Tamaraws turn their attention to the top-seed and twice-to-beat Blue Eagles. That matchup is scheduled for Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.

On the other hand, the Green Archers miss out on the Final Four for the first time since 2015. Santillan was the lone player in double-digits for them with 20 points.

Aljun Melecio struggled with just nine points in 3-of-11 shooting and Justine Baltazar experienced the same with only six points in 3-of-10 shooting.

Captain Kib Montalbo, playing in his last game, had seven points, two rebounds, one assist, and one steal.

BOX SCORES

FEU 71 – Tolentino 15, Ebona 12, Tuffin 11, Escoto 10, Comboy 8, Parker 7, Inigo 5, Cani 2, Orizu 1, Stockton 0, Gonzales 0, Bienes 0

LA SALLE 70 – Santillan 20, Melecio 9, Caracut 9, Montalbo 7, Baltazar 6, Manuel 5, Samuel 4, Dyke 3, Go 3, Bates 2, Serrano 2

QUARTER SCORES: 22-21, 36-38, 54-51, 71-70

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