FEU holds off spirited Adamson, barges into Final 4

MANILA, Philippines – The FEU Tamaraws booked their ticket to the Final Four after dealing the spirited Adamson Soaring Falcons a 90-73 beating and came away with 10-2 win-loss record in the men’s basketball tournament of UAAP Season 77 on Wednesday, September 3 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Despite solid efforts by the Falcons, even leading by as much as 12 points in the first half, the Tamaraws exploded in the fourth period, outscoring their opponent 28-13, to make a return trip to the Final Four this season and solidify their hold of the top spot in the standings. 

FEU, who were ousted by eventual champions La Salle in a virtual best-of-3 last season, is looking to secure one of two twice-to-beat advantages by winning their last two games of the eliminations. Winning just one of those games assures them of at least a playoff for a twice-to-beat.

“Yun talaga yung goal ng team, yung top two,” said FEU assistant coach Eric Gonzales, who handled the coaching reins in the absence of head coach Nash Racela, who is with national team Gilas Pilipinas in Spain for the FIBA Basketball World Cup. 

“Yun ang gusto namin ma-achieve.” (That was really our goul, to get to the top two. That’s what we wanted to achieve.)

The Tamaraws, led by Achie Inigo’s 18 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists, were down entering the second half, 44-40. This after Mike Tolomia, who pitched in 17 markers, 6 rebounds and 3 assists, drained a heave all the way from Adamson’s three-point line at the halftime buzzer, which effectively doused water on Adamson’s run capped by back-to-back treys courtesy of Don Trollano and Ryan Monteclaro.

“Nabigyan namin ng confidence yung kalaban,” Gonzales said of FEU’s lackluster first half. (We gave our opponent confidence.)

Fighting neck-and-neck in the third, Adamson weathered the FEU storm as much as they could, even finding a gem from the bench in Chris Garcia, who scored 8 points in that canto including a conversion on a cut to the basket which tied the game for the last time, 60-60.

But FEU refused to put themselves in a position for an upset like Ateneo did before them against UP and revved up their offense to leave Adamson in the dust.

Roger Pogoy, who had 12 markers and 4 rebounds, sank a pair of triples down the stretch to pound the nail on Adamson’s coffin.

Mac Belo dropped 17 points, tracked down 12 rebounds and even dished out 4 assists.

For Adamson, who were severely outhustled on the boards, 44-27, Trollano and Jansen Rios led the way with 20 and 16 points, respectively. Monteclaro added 12 points.

The Falcons continue to be winless in 12 outings this season. – Rappler.com