Barkley Eboña pushes past pain to deliver performance of his life for FEU
Barkley Eboña proved that any man with two hands would always put up a fight.
Playing through cramping legs, Far Eastern University’s unheralded role player put on an inspired performance in the Tamaraws’ 71-70 win over De La Salle for the no.4 spot in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball Final Four.
The Tamaraws and the Green Archers entered Wednesday’s game at Smart Araneta Coliseum bearing the same 8-6 records with the victor claiming the fourth seed of the Final Four.
With stakes set high, Eboña decided to put his cramping body to the limit.
“It was hard because both of my legs were cramping up and my teammates and I were actually passing on the responsibility of who would guard [Santi] Santillan because he was faster than all of us bigs,” said Eboña in Filipino.
Santillan became the Green Archers’ offensive focal point finishing with 20 points, on 6-of-12 shooting, and six rebounds when shooting guard Aljun Melecio got shut down to nine points on 3-of-11 conversion.
Eboña, though, powered through the responsibility of matching up with Santilla and finished with 12 points and 16 rebounds, both numbers more than double his season average of 5.3 points and 6.1 rebounds.
“I just had to give my best because I had to repay every bit of trust coach Olsen [Racela] gave me,” said Eboña who was slotted in as the team’s center in the final minutes after Prince Orizu fouled out with 4:30 left to play.
Eboña was also instrumental in the Tamaraws’ fourth quarter charge when he tied the game at 62 with 4:08 remaining.
“I know that there’s no tomorrow if we lose, nothing will happen for us,” said Eboña. “I just did everything I can so I won’t have any regrets once the day is over.”