MANILA, Philippines – The FEU Tamaraws once again flirted with danger as they let another opponent hang around throughout the game.
But true to form, the Tamaraws were again able to come up with the big stops and huge shots down the stretch to pick up another victory.
Despite losing leader and MVP candidate Mike Tolomia to an ankle injury in the second half, Far Eastern University booked a seat in the senior basketball tournament’s Final Four round and extended their winning streak to 8 after a 71-67 win against the UE Red Warriors on Saturday, October 24, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The win improved the current first-seed Tamaraws’ record to 9-1, while UE’s Final Four aspirations took a hit as they dropped to 3-7.
Mac Belo led the winning side with 16 points on just 11 shots to go with 6 boards and two dimes, while Roger Pogoy, who hit the game-changing 3-ball late in the fourth period, finished with 12 points and 8 rebounds.
Achie Inigo did most of his damage in the first half and ended up with 11 points and 4 boards, while Prince Orizu and Raymar Jose each came up with 8 points and combined for 16 rebounds.
Bon Batiller wound up with 13 points despite having to get his ankle re-taped in the third period, while Paul Varilla finished with 10 points and 7 boards to spearhead UE.
It was a back-and-forth affair with no team taking a significant lead throughout the game. FEU seemed to be in trouble Tolomia’s ankle got hurt late in the third period, but their defense didn’t allow UE to run away with a lead in the final quarter.
Trailing by one with a little over 4 minutes to go, Russel Escoto hit a shot in the paint to put his team up 66-65. Both teams then went scoreless for almost the next 3 minutes until Pogoy nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key, 69-65.
UE’s Nick Abanto then hit a big shot to trim the deficit to two with 46 seconds left, followed by the Red Warriors getting a stop as Inigo misfired on a 3-ball.
However, UE was unable to capitalize as Edgar Charcos missed a wide-open triple, then Varilla misfired on an open midrange jumper.
Inigo was then fouled and hit two free throws to put his team up 71-67 with 3.9 seconds to go. After a time-out, Batiller missed on a jumper to seal the loss.
The Tamaraws will aim to extend their winning streak to 9 games when they face the Adamson Soaring Falcons on Wednesday, October 28.
UE will look to bounce back against the UST Growling Tigers on Wednesday, November 4.
FEU (71): Belo 16, Pogoy 12, Inigo 11, Orizu 8, Jose 8, Escoto 6, Tolomia 4, Escoto 4, Arong 2, Tamsi 0, Dennison 0, Trinidad 0, Comboy 0
UE (67): Batiller 13, Varilla 10, Charcos 10, Abanto 8, Derige 8, Varilla 7, Javier 5, Manalang 3, Palma 2, De Leon 1, Sta Ana 0, Gonzales 0
Quarter scores: 18-19, 34-34, 53-55, 71-67
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