FEU survives UST, takes Game 1 of UAAP Finals
Far Eastern University held University of Santo Tomas to only two points in the last six minutes to win, 75-64, in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 78 men’s basketball Finals Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Tamaraws blew a 14-point lead and trailed, 62-61, before closing the game on a 14-2 blast in the final three minutes and 40 seconds.
A Mike Tolomia drive put FEU ahead for good, 63-62, before back-to-back UST turnovers led to a Prince Orizu put back dunk and another Tolomia layup for a 71-62 buffer with only 1:20 remaining.
“This team has been an underrated defensive team but these boys really work hard when it comes to defense and I think it showed today,” said FEU head coach Nash Racela, whose squad picked up its first win over UST this season after getting swept in the elimination round.
Game 2 is on Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum with the Tamaraws shooting for their first championship since 2005.
Louie Vigil gave the Growling Tigers a 62-61 edge with 5:55 left, but that turned out to be UST’s last basket in the next five minutes before Jamil Sheriff’s meaningless bucket inside the final 30 seconds of the game.
Roger Pogoy led FEU with 15 points, 13 coming in the first half, where the Tams took a 14-point spread. Tolomia added 14 points and seven rebounds while Mac Belo posted a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
FEU got a big lift from Orizu, whose best game of the season couldn’t have come at a better time for his team. He nearly had a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.
The Tams, the best rebounding team this season, dominated the boards, 56-32, with 22 of which came at the offensive glass that resulted to 17 second-chance points.
Russel Escoto also came up big with 12 points, including a long jumper that gave FEU a 67-62 cushion with 1:57 remaining. Escoto had seven rebounds as well.
Karim Abdul scored a game-high 19 points while Kevin Ferrer added 15 on a bad shooting night but the two graduating stars failed to draw help from the likes of Vigil, Mario Bonleon and Ed Daquioag to match FEU’s depth.
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