MANILA, Philippines – The FEU Tamaraws survived the UP Fighting Maroons’ massive comeback bid to get away with an 82-79 overtime triumph in the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday, October 6.
The Maroons – playing their first game without suspended coach Bo Perasol – came back from 19 points down to force overtime, 69-69, before the Tamaraws rediscovered their form in the extra period.
Ken Tuffin topscored with 18 on a 5-of-6 clip from three-point range, while L-Jay Gonzales scattered 17 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 assists for the Tamaraws, who avenged their first-round loss.
“We just took it possession-by-possession, focused on every second,” said FEU coach Olsen Racela. “We started well, didn’t end well in regulation, but got back in overtime.”
FEU opened the extra period with 5 straight points before Javi Gomez de Liaño extinguished the run with a trey, 72-74, at the 2:35 mark.
Wendell Comboy answered with a three of his own, but UP got them right back with a 5-0 tying run, ending with a Bright Akhuetie layup at the two-minute mark.
But Tuffin and Comboy conspired for 5 more points to take an 82-79 lead with 18.3 ticks remaining.
Javi Gomez de Liaño hoisted a wild shot off the timeout, but it clanked off as FEU wasted the time to take the win.
The Maroons – led by Kobe Paras’ 22 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 steals – dropped their second straight game but still kept solo second with a 5-3 record.
FEU, meanwhile, evened up its slate at 4-4 and entered a three-way tie at 3rd place with La Salle and UST.
Down 16 midway through the 4th, UP managed to storm all the way back and tie the game, 69-all, capped by a steal and score by Javi Gomez de Liaño with 24.7 ticks left.
On the other end, Comboy got a good look off the timeout, but his game-winning attempt rimmed out as time expired.
It looked like, though, that the Tamaraws had the game in control early in the secod half.
After a back-and-forth first half, the Tamaraws cranked up the offense in the 3rd and outscored the Maroons, 30-16, for a 60-43 lead off the production of veteran forward Tuffin.
Although the Maroons – who wore ‘We BOlieve’ warm-up shirts in support of Perasol – got within 10 to begin the 4th, FEU quickly got back up 16, 69-53, after a 7-2 run ending with a Pat Tchuente layup at the 5:58 mark.
Still, UP responded with a 10-0 blitz to get within single-digit, 63-69, after an Akhueite and-one layup with 2:29 left in regulation.
Paras then made it a 12-0 attack, 65-69, with two free throws after brushing off a hard fall at the 2:06 mark.
FEU 82 – Tuffin 18, Gonzales 17, Tchuente 14, Torres 12, Comboy 10, Stockton 5, Cani 4, Eboña 2, Alforque 0, Bayquin 0, Bienes 0, Celzo 0, Nunag 0.
UP 79 – Paras 22, Akhuetie 14, Gomez de Liaño Ja. 11, Gomez de Liaño Ju. 8, Manzo 7, Tungcab 5, Rivero 4, Spencer 3, Webb 3, Prado 2, Jaboneta 0, Murrell 0.
Quarters: 18-17, 30-27, 60-43, 69-69 (reg), 82-79 (OT)