MANILA, Philippines – For the first time in three years, the UE Red Warriors can once again call themselves winners after blowing out the FEU Tamaraws in a 76-66 stunner in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament at the PhilSports Arena on Wednesday, October 5.
Ultra-confident sophomore Kyle Paranada had the game of his young life with a career-high 25 points – 9 coming in the fourth quarter alone, built off 5-of-10 triples with 5 assists.
The upset marks the Recto-based squad’s first victory since October 30, 2019, when they escaped the NU Bulldogs, 79-77, to wrap up their Season 82 campaign.
After a nip-and-tuck first half, UE locked in on both ends to start the third quarter, and set the tone with a huge 25-8 quarter-long blitz – holding FEU to just one made field goal in 11 attempts and forcing 5 turnovers to boot for the 63-44 breakaway heading to the final frame.
Paranada extended the Red Warriors’ lead to 21, 65-44, at the start of the fourth, before the Tamaraws finally woke up from their stupor with a 15-2 comeback effort ending with a Chiolo Añonuevo dunk at the 3:51 mark to get within single digits, 59-67.
However, Paranada refused to let UE blow its advantage completely as he scored 7 of his team’s last 9 points, ending with a dagger shot in the final minute for the 76-64 gap.
No other Red Warrior breached double-digit scoring as Luis Villegas stuffed the stat sheet with 8 points – all coming in the pivotal third quarter charge – plus 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
“It was a good game. At least our instructions and game plan were followed. We just had some lapses down the stretch, but still, the bottom line is, the game plan was followed. I thank my boys, especially Kyle,” said head coach Jack Santiago in a mix of English and Filipino.
Patrick Sleat followed up his 17-point season debut for FEU with a 15-point outing on 6-of-12 shooting plus 4 steals and 3 boards, while Añonuevo scored 10 with 5 rebounds and 2 assists.
UE now aims to start a much-needed winning streak as it next faces the Adamson Soaring Falcons on Saturday, October 8, 2 pm at the Araneta Coliseum, while FEU shoots for a breakthrough that same day at 4 pm against the defending champion UP Fighting Maroons.
UE 76 – K. Paranada 25, Tulabut 9, Villegas 8, N. Paranada 8, Pagsanjan 7, Sawat 6, Payawal 5, Stevens 4, Alcantara 2, Antiporda 2, Remogat 0, Beltran 0.
FEU 66 – Sleat 15, Anonuevo 10, Torres 8, Alforque 6, Bautista 6, Gonzales 5, Tempra 5, Tchuente 4, Gravera 3, Sandagon 2, Songcuya 2, Guibao 0, Ona 0.
Quarters: 18-19, 38-36, 63-44, 76-66.