Tamaraws, Bulldogs log No. 3
WHAT looked like a quiet campaign has become more of a struggle for defending champion Far Eastern University.
“We expected an up-and-down season for us,” said FEU coach Nash Racela after the Tamaraws escaped University of the Philippines by just a bucket, 51-49, yesterday in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“In every game, we always tell our players that it’s not going to be easy.”
Racela, though, doesn’t mind if the season’s spotlight is now on heavy favorite La Salle and surprising Adamson rather than on their title defense.
It’s enough for Racela that his players delivered in the final stretch against the Maroons even if his Tamaraws are still “learning the ropes at this point.”
Monbert Arong knocked in the game-saving basket—a tough turnaround jumper with 14.6 seconds left that shoved the Tamaraws ahead, 50-47—while Prince Orizu also had two crucial blocks on UP’s Jarell Lim and Paul Desiderio inside the last 80 seconds.
“It’s something we always talk about in our team—not giving up in every play,” said Racela.
The Tamaraws’ first back-to-back wins gave them a share of second at 3-2 with Adamson, Ateneo and National University, which held off University of Santo Tomas’ late rally, 75-68, in the second game.
“They were really determined in this game, they showed it in the first three quarters,” NU coach Eric Altamirano said of his Bulldogs, who recovered from consecutive losses to La Salle and Adamson.
Jay Alejandro fired 16 points as the Bulldogs held on for the win even after nearly blowing a 69-49 lead in the fourth quarter.
“It’s still a work in progress for us,” said Altamirano. “It was an ugly fourth quarter for us. I thought we were just playing not to lose.”
The Tamaraws also managed to keep their composure despite several questionable calls, including a disqualifying foul on Ron Dennison for allegedly punching Paul Desiderio.
On replay, Dennison merely tapped Desiderio on the stomach, but the UP shooting guard winced in pain, drawing the referee’s attention. With a report from Delfin Dioquino
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
NU 75—Alejandro 16, Salem 14, Salim 11, Aroga 10, Diputado 8, Aquino 5, Mosqueda 5, Abatayo 2, Diputado 2, Gallego 2, Morido 0, Pate 0, Rangel 0, Sinclair 0, Yu 0.
UST 68—Vigil 17, Sheriff 16, Lee 8, Afoakwah 7, Subido 6, Lao 5, Basibas 4, Caunan 2, Macasaet 2, Huang 1, Arana 0, De Guzman 0, Faundo 0.
Quarters: 27-15, 46-29, 69-49, 75-68
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