Baby Tamaraws close in on UAAP title
Far Eastern University-Diliman overcame a slow start escape defending champion National University, 66-65, and move closer to winning the championship Tuesday in the UAAP Season 79 juniors basketball tournament.
The Baby Tamaraws heaved a sigh of relief as NU’s John Lloyd Clemente misfired on his game-tying at the buzzer after FEU slotman Kenji Roman bungled two free throws that could iced the game.
FEU held on to the win after it squandered a 65-56 lead midway in the payoff period as the Bullpups rallied behind Clemente and Rhayyan Amsali.
“We’re new to this championship atmosphere so we needed a little getting used to. I think they were overwhelmed at first. It was a good thing we were able to recover right away,” said FEU-Diliman coach Albano.
The finals first timers found themselves trailing 2-9, before settling down towards the end of the opening period and taking the momentum.
Game 2 is scheduled on Friday also at San Juan Arena with the Baby Tamaraws eyeing to reclaim the crown they last held in 2012.
Roman finished with 12 points and eight rebounds while Xyrus Torres added 10 points and five boards for FEU.
LJ Gonzales scored only seven points had 10 rebounds and 10 assists for the Baby Tamaraws.
Clemente came through with 25 points, six rebounds and four assists to lead the Bullpups.
Winderlich Coyuca added 11 points, three boards and two assists, while Amsali contributed 10 points, seven rebounds, two blocks, two steals and two assists for NU.
FEU 66 – Roman 12, Torres 10, Sapinit 9, Celzo 8, Abarrientos 8, Gonzales 7, Gabane 5, Jabel 2, Baclay 2, Bieren 2, Gloria 1, Mariano 0.
NU 65 – Clemente 25, Coyoca 11, Amsali 10, Peñano 9, Sarip 5, Manalang 3, Malonzo 2, Atienza 0, Calleja 0, Fortea 0, Peralta 0, Tolentino 0.
Quarters: 24-20, 43-34, 57-52, 66-65