FEU escapes UP, wins 2nd straight
Far Eastern University got its act late and escaped University of the Philippines, 51-49, Sunday in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tournament at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Monbert Arong nailed a clutch turnaround jumper with 14.6 seconds left to put the Tamaraws ahead, 50-49.
The Fighting Maroons, though, kept themselves in the game, as Javi Gomez de Liano recovered and scored on a putback to keep their squad alive in the final 6.9 ticks.
Joe Trinidad gave FEU a bit of a breather, splitting his freebies with 4.1 seconds, but fortunately, Dave Moralde muffed his potential game-winning three at the buzzer.
“This was a struggle but we knew all along that this game will be difficult,” said coach Nash Racela, as the Tamaraws improved to a 3-2 slate.
Arong topped the Tamaraws with 14 points and four rebounds, while Trinidad and Ken Holmqvist had seven markers each.
FEU also had to play without Ron Dennison in the endgame after he was whistled with a disqualifying foul after an alleged punch on Paul Desiderio at the 2:48 mark of the fourth.
Luckily for the Tams, Prince Orizu stepped up on the defensive end late, blocking go-ahead attempts from Jarell Lim and Desiderio within the last two minutes.
Racela admits the team’s campaign this season has been shaky, but said that he’s glad that finally, the Tamaraws were able to muster back-to-back wins.
“We’re really struggling, learning the ropes at this point, but I think yung struggle namin today was brought by their coach focusing on defense. I’m happy that we limited them to less than 50 points. At least, that gave us a chance,” he said.
It was a low-scoring affair from the get-go, with both teams combining for a total of nine points in the first quarter, erasing the previous record set when UST led UP, 10-4 back in September 13 last year.
Desiderio led UP (1-4) with 15 points and four rebounds, while Moralde got a double-double with 13 markers and 11 boards.
FEU 51 – Arong 14, Trinidad 7, Holmqvist 7, Jose 6, Comboy 6, Nunag 4, Dennison 2, Bienes 2, Ebona 2, Orizu 1, Inigo 0, Bayquin 0, Tuffin 0, Denila 0.
UP 49 – Desiderio 15, Moralde 13, Manuel 8, Dario 6, Gomez de Liano 3, Espanola 2, Prado 2, Harris 0, Webb 0, Lim 0, Vito 0, Asilum 0, Jaboneta 0, Lao 0, Romero 0.
Quarters: 4-5, 20-15, 38-30, 51-49.
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