MANILA, Philippines—It all boiled down to the final defensive stops as Far Eastern University clipped University of the Philippines, 67-63, Thursday in the 75th UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
The Tamaraws continued their chase for the twice-to-beat incentive and improved to 9-3, as they clamped down on defense and held the Maroons scoreless in the final two minutes.
Roger Pogoy stepped up to the plate anew with two clutch free throws, which gave FEU a precarious 66-63 cushion in the final minute to finish with a game-best 16 markers.
“It’s always a close fight between us and UP. But we controlled the boards in this game,” said coach Bert Flores in the post-game presser.
It was an unimpressive win for the Tamaraws, who only made two treys and recorded 10 assists, but got a great boost all game with their great edge on the rebounding, 46-27.
Terrence Romeo missed the mark a couple of times, even in clutch when the Maroons snatched the lead back, but still assisted on crucial plays and finished with 13 markers and five boards.
FEU was holding on to the advantage after a strong third quarter, but could not totally put UP away and even relinquished the lead twice in the last five minutes.
A floater from burly center Raul Soyud gave the Maroons a 63-62 lead with 2:12 to go.
But that was the last they would score, as UP would muff all of its attempts from downtown to tie the game as the clock wound down.
Mike Silungan paced the Maroons with 12 points, but failed to contribute in clutch and just scored a bucket in the second half.
Alvin Padila, meanwhile, added 11 points—more than half of which in the fourth-quarter run, which gave the squad its first lead, 61-60, since the second quarter.