Filoil Preseason Cup: FEU fights back to beat UP, complete semis cast
MANILA, Philippines—Far Eastern University came from behind to notch the last Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup semifinal ticket at the expense of a depleted University of the Philippines, 72-63, at San Juan Arena on Tuesday.
The Tamaraws took advantage of a Fighting Maroons team that had no Zav Lucero, Henry Galinato and Carl Tamayo, who is with Gilas Pilipinas.
“This helps our confidence, knowing we can compete and beat UP but of course, we don’t want to be overconfident. This is not yet the ‘real’ UP team. We still have a lot to do, but still, I like the way we competed today,” FEU head coach Olsen Racela said.
With under two minutes remaining, FEU’s Bryan Sajonia ran the length of the court after a UP turnover and found his spot at the corner, sinking the nail in the Fighting Maroons’ coffin, 68-61. He finished with a team-high 16 points.
With FEU down, 52-44, to begin the fourth quarter, UP gave up a 12-5 rally by the Tamaraws that cut the lead to just one, 57-56.
Pat Tchuente then sank a tip-in to give the Tamaraws the lead, followed by a triple from Sajonia and a turnaround jumper from LJ Gonzales to put them up, 63-57.
LJ Gonzales and FEU head coach Olsen Racela after their win over UP that secured a spot in the semifinals. | Rommel Fuertes/Inquirer Sports
Posted by Inquirer Sports on Tuesday, August 23, 2022
Without UP bigs Tamayo, Lucero and Galinato, the Fighting Maroons were outrebounded by the Tamaraws by a small margin, 54-50.
Gonzales and Royce Alforque worked like a well-oiled machine in the backcourt, scattering 13 points each for FEU. Tchuente also posted 11 with eight rebounds.
Bismarck Lina took over for UP with 13 markers and seven boards while Malick Diouf tallied a double-double of 12 and 12.
FEU will face the undefeated De La Salle Green Archers in the semifinals on Thursday at the same venue.