UAAP: FEU sweeps Ateneo in eliminations behind L-Jay Gonzalez's game-winner | Inquirer Sports

UAAP: FEU sweeps Ateneo in eliminations behind L-Jay Gonzalez’s game-winner

/ 07:46 PM October 25, 2023

L-Jay Gonzales reacts after hitting the game winner to lift FEU past Ateneo in the UAAP Season 86 men's basketball tournament.

L-Jay Gonzales reacts after hitting the game winner to lift FEU past Ateneo in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament. –MARLO CUETO/

MANILA, Philippines — L-Jay Gonzales hit a buzzer-beating, one-hand three-pointer to help Far Eastern University complete an elimination round sweep of Ateneo with a 62-59 victory in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament on Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.

With the score tied at 59 with 3.9 seconds left after Kai Ballungay’s turnover from his inbound pass, Gonzales made an up-and-under move to elude the taller Chris Koon and sank the off-balance game-winner.


The Tamaraws are the first team to sweep the Blue Eagles in the eliminations since Tab Baldwin took charge in 2016.  They beat Ateneo in the first round, where Gonzales also starred.

“Coach Denok always reminds me to take the last shot. A miracle happened. I didn’t expect that it would go in. Thank God because he guided me on that shot,” said Gonzales in Filipino. “We’re also thankful to our crowd. It really feels great to play in front of that kind of support. We’re really happy to get this win.”


FEU coach Denok Miranda.

FEU coach Denok Miranda. –MARLO CUETO/

As the Tamaraws erupted into a wild celebration, FEU rookie coach Denok Miranda had mixed emotions as he remembered his missed potential game-winning shot against La Salle in the 2004 UAAP Finals.

“Naalala ko yung up and under niya kanina kaya hindi ako nagreact nung nashoot niya e. Nakita nyo nandon lang ako nanonood lang kasi nagflashback yung 2004 yun yung last shot ko, yung last year ko, yung back to back champion dapat so namiss ko yung ganung tira,” said Miranda, who is the  the first coach to sweep Baldwin in the UAAP. “Sa kanya three points, sa akin two points lang.”

But Miranda was happy to see Gonzales do what he couldn’t as FEU improved to a 3-5 record to start the second round.

“Ok na yun kahit namintis basta nanalo kami ngayon. Tapos na yun tsaka nabalik din yung championship na yun sa amin,” said Miranda, who still received the championship 19 years ago as La Salle was disqualified due to eligibility issue.


Gonzales gave FEU a 10-point lead after nailing a stepback three, 57-47, but Ateneo unleashed a 12-2 run capped by Mason Amos’ triple to tie the game at 59 with 14.1 seconds left.

Patrick Sleat lost the ball in the Tamaraws’ next possession but the Blue Eagles’ also missed the opportunity to take the lead as Ballungay’s inbound pass to Ian Espinosa went out of bounds, leading to Gonzales’ heroics.

Gonzales finished with 19 points, nine rebounds, five assists, and four steals for FEU. Sleat had 12 points and eight rebounds, while Jorick Bautista had 10 points.

Ateneo couldn’t sustain its big win over University of the Philippines last Sunday as it dropped to a 4-4 record.

Koon led the Blue Eagles with 14 points, while Amos had 11 points.

The Scores:

FEU (62) – Gonzales 19, Sleat 12, Bautista 10, Torres 7, Faty 7, Bagunu 5, Ona 2, Tempra 0, Competente 0.

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Ateneo (59) – Koon 14, Amos 11, Ballungay 9, Obasa 7, Espinosa 7, Brown 6, Quitevis 2, Chiu 2, Lazaro 1, Credo 0, Bongo 0, Nieto 0. 

 Quarterscores: 15-9, 30-27, 44-41, 62-59

TAGS: Ateneo Blue Eagles, FEU Tamaraws, L-Jay Gonzales, UAAP Season 86

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