MANILA, Philippines – Just days after snapping Adamson’s perfect run, Far Eastern University stunned another heavyweight.
The FEU Tamaraws kept the shockers rolling, this time with a 63-60 victory over defending champion Ateneo Blue Eagles in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday, October 10.
After see-sawing with losses against lower-ranked UE and UST, the Tamaraws are suddenly red-hot and finished the first round tied at second place with the Blue Eagles with identical 5-2 cards.
FEU gained control in a masterclass 3rd quarter, gunning for a 17-4 run punctuated by a three-pointer from Branrey Bienes and a go-ahead long bomb from Axel Iñigo, 39-36.
Bienes only made matters worse for the Eagles in the 4th, dropping one more corner triple to extend the lead to 8, 50-42.
Hubert Cani then sank an and-one, 56-49, with just 3:15 left in regulation. Ateneo star Thirdy Ravena then got tagged for an unsportsmanlike foul on FEU forward Richard Escoto at the 3:04 mark, which marked his fifth and final foul for the afternoon.
Cani led the balanced FEU charge with 12 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds.
Bienes stepped up with 8 markers, 2 boards and 2 dimes in the absence of the suspended Arvin Tolentino. Seven Tamaraws scored at least 8 points in the huge win.
Matt Nieto suffered an apparent finger injury in the 2nd quarter and did not return for the entire 2nd half.
Angelo Kouame paced Ateneo anew with a 16-point, 12-rebound double-double plus 4 blocks. Nieto’s twin brother Mike chipped in 8 points, 7 boards and 3 assists.
FEU 63 – Cani 12, Parker 9, Iñigo 9, Comboy 8, Orizu 8, Bienes 8, Stockton 5, Escoto 4, Ebona 0, Tuffin 0, Gonzales 0, Bayquin 0.
Ateneo 60 – Kouame 16, Verano 8, Ravena 8, Nieto Mi 8, Asistio 6, Mamuyac 6, Mendoza 4, Go 2, Wong 2, Tio 0, Navarro 0, Belangel 0, Nieto Ma 0, Black 0.
Quarters: 11-19, 22-32, 39-39, 63-60