MANILA, Philippines – Far Eastern University made the most of a lucky break to keep its UAAP Season 81 campaign alive.
The Tamaraws came out charging from the get-go against an Adamson Falcons side that played minus its top two scorers to cruise to an 82-56 victory and force a playoff for the last Final Four berth in the men’s basketball tournament on Sunday, November 18, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Behind Arvin Tolentino, the Tamaraws wrapped up their elimination run with an 8-6 record to tie the University of the Philippines Maroons and the La Salle Green Archers.
The UP Maroons, though, secured the 3rd spot due to superior quotient and arranged a Final Four duel against the No. 2 Falcons.
Thus, the Tamaraws and the Green Archers will dispute the last semifinal spot in a do-or-die match at 3:30 pm on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The winner will advance against defending champion Ateneo Blue Eagles, who hold a twice-to-beat advantage just like the Falcons.
As Adamson played without leading scorers Jerrick Ahanmisi and Sean Manganti, FEU immediately took advantage, opening the game on a 16-2 run.
The hot-shooting Tams – who shot an impressive 54.84% from the field and fired 7-of-11 from beyond the arc in the first half – then doubled up their score against the Falcons, 64-32, at the 2:39 mark of the 3rd quarter off a Richard Escoto bucket.
From there, they never looked back and cruised to the easy win.
“We’re finally getting the breaks in the second round,” said FEU coach Olsen Racela. “Malaking bagay itong game na ito with them missing Ahanmisi and Manganti. But ayun… we have one game to play, to make it to the Final Four.”
(This is a big game for us with them missing Ahanmisi and Manganti. But we still have one game to play, to make it to the Final Four.)
Wendell Comboy paced the Tamaraws’ balanced charge with 11 points. Tolentino finished with 10 points and 5 rebounds while Hubert Cani also scored 10.
Jerom Lastimosa shot 11 points to pace the Falcons, who sat out Ahanmisi and Manganti due to illness.
FEU 82 – Comboy 11, Tolentino 10, Cani 10, Stockton 8, Parker 7, Tuffin 7, Ebona 6, Iñigo 4, Orizu 3, Bienes 3, Gonzales 3, Ramirez 3, Nunag 3, Escoto 2, Jopia 2, Bayquin 0.
ADAMSON 56 – Lastimosa 11, Espeleta 8, Bernardo 8, Sarr 6, Camacho 6, Catapusan 4, Zaldivar 4, Colonia 2, Pingoy 2, Macion 2, Magbuhos V 1, Magbuhos W 1, Maata 1, Mojica 0.
Quarters: 21-8, 46-22, 70-40, 82-56.