MANILA, Philippines – The FEU Tamaraws got back to their winning ways in UAAP Season 84 after outgunning the winless UE Red Warriors, 88-74, at the Mall of Asia Arena on Tuesday, April 5.
With the win, the loaded Tamaraws snapped their uncharacteristic three-game losing streak for a 2-3 record, while sending the Red Warriors to their fifth straight loss.
Sophomore sniper Xyrus Torres vented his ire on the hapless UE perimeter defense as he buried 26 points built off 8-of-15 shooting from three in just 21 minutes.
Reinforcement Emman Ojuola muscled his way to an 18-point, 19-rebound double-double while third-year floor general LJay Gonzales made up for a zero-assist game, and finished with 13 markers, 8 dimes, and 4 boards with just 1 turnover.
FEU dominated both ends of the floor right from the get-go as it set the tone with a 20-6 first quarter gap leading to a 40-22 advantage at halftime.
Although the Tamaraws led by as many as 23 points, 45-22, off a Gonzales triple at the 8:25 mark of the third quarter, the Warriors mounted a 23-9 fightback, capped by a Jojo Antiporda three to get within single digits, 45-54, with just 33 ticks left in the frame.
But the first-half damage they sustained was just too great as FEU just kept firing in the final frame, and again outscored UE, 21-10, midway through the period for a 78-58 gap, and never looked back from there.
”Much needed victory after losing three straight,” said head coach Olsen Racela. “We needed a victory more for our morale. We cannot celebrate yet because we have three games this week. We’ll go back to the drawing board for the remaining games.”
Harvey Pagsanjan carried the load offensively for the Red Warriors as the sole double-digit scorer with 23 off a frigid 5-of-20 shooting, but also an encouraging 11-of-11 from the line.
Meanwhile, the league’s top assist man Clint Escamis was held to just 2 markers, albeit with 6 boards and 5 more assists to his name.
The Warriors played minus head coach Jack Santiago, who served the first of a two-game suspension.
FEU will look to even up its win-loss total on Thursday, April 7, at 7 pm, as head coach Olsen battles his brother Nash of the Adamson Soaring Falcons for the first time in the UAAP.
On the other hand, UE will shoot for a massive breakthrough at 4 pm against the Ateneo Blue Eagles dynasty currently riding a 30-game winning streak.
FEU 88 – Torres 26, Ojuola 18, Gonzales 13, Sajonia 7, Alforque 6, Sandagon 6, Coquia 3, Abarrientos 2, Bienes 2, Sleat 2, Li 2, Celzo 1, Tempra 0, Gravera 0.
UE 74 – Pagsanjan 23, Sawat 8, Guevarra 7, Catacutan 7, Antiporda 6, N. Paranada 5, Beltran 4, Abatayo 4, Villanueva 3, J. Cruz 3, Escamis 2, Lorenzana 2, Tulabut 0, K. Paranada 0, P. Cruz 0.
Quarters: 20-6, 40-22, 57-45, 88-74.