MANILA, Philippines – RJ Abarrientos delivered a cold-blooded triple in the clutch as the FEU Tamaraws escaped the Adamson Soaring Falcons, 66-65, in the UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball tournament on Thursday, April 7 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
With the Tamaraws down by 2, 63-65, Abarrientos sank a fall-away three-pointer off a screen by Emman Ojuola with just 9 seconds remaining to give FEU its second straight win as Adamson’s Jerom Lastimosa failed to convert on his long bomb on the other end.
Abarrientos, who was held to just 2 points in the Tamaraws’ previous outing, scored a team-high 17 points, to go along with 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.
With the win, the Tamaraws improved to 3-3 in the team standings, while the Soaring Falcons, who picked up their fourth straight loss, dropped to 1-5.
“We all know basketball is a game of runs,” said FEU coach Olsen Racela.
“We were down 8 in the last five minutes and we made a last run thanks to these two guys (Abarrientos and Xyrus Torres). They delivered when we needed it.”
“This will really help us moving forward,” he added.
Defense was the name of the game in the low-scoring first half, with Adamson leading by only 2 points, 28-26, at the end of the first two quarters.
It was still a tightly-contested battle between both teams early in the second half, and with the Tamaraws on top by 3, 46-43, at the start of the final frame, the Soaring Falcons shifted into high gear and went on a 19-8 run to lead by as many as 8, 62-54, with just 3:41 left to play.
Adamson, however, failed to take care of its eight-point cushion as FEU managed to crawl back and steal the lead, 63-62, thanks to seven straight points by Torres and a layup by LJay Gonzales.
Lastimosa answered with a huge triple in the following play to give the lead back to the Soaring Falcons, 65-63, before Abarrientos eventually sealed the win for the Tamaraws.
Gonzales also came up big for the Tamaraws in the victory as he finished with 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists, while Torres added 13 markers and 6 boards.
On the other hand, Lastimosa, who failed to deliver on a game-winning three-pointer for the second consecutive game, paced the Soaring Falcons with 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists.
FEU clashes with the UP Fighting Maroons in the final game of the opening round on Saturday, April 9, at 7 pm, while Adamson takes on the La Salle Green Archers at 1 pm.
FEU 66 – Abarrientos 17, Gonzales 16, Torres 13, Tempra 6, Ojoula 4, Alforque 3, Bienes 3, Sandagon 3, Li 1, Sajonia 0, Coquia 0, Celzo 0.
Adamson 65 – Lastimosa 16, Manzano 12, Douanga 10, Magbuhos 8, Yerro 6, Sabandal 4, Colonia 4, Zaldivar 3, Hanapi 2, Peromingan 0, Barasi 0, Jaymalin 0.
Quarters: 9-13, 28-26, 43-46, 66-65.