MANILA, Philippines – Banking on a hot start, Far Eastern University overcame the scoring outburst of National University rookie John Lloyd Clemente, 79-74, to keep its Final Four hopes alive in the UAAP Season 81 men's basketball tournament on Sunday, November 11, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Tamaraws pulled away early by knocking in 9 triples in the first half, 4 coming from Arvin Tolentino, who finished with 16 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists.
Kenneth Tuffin also delivered 15 points as the Tamaraws overcame the record showing of Clemente.
Clemente erupted for 38 points, the most points scored this season and the highest score tallied by an NU player since Ray Parks score 35 in 2012.
But his huge effort wasn't enough as the Tamaraws held off the late surge behind Tolentino, Tuffin and FEU rookie LJ Gonzales on the way to their seventh win to reclaim a share of the 4th spot.
"The third quarter, Clemente went off. We're just happy we weathered the storm. Stuff like that are gonna happen," said Tuffin.
Clemente led the Bulldogs' comeback in the second half as he exploded for 21 points in the 3rd quarter alone, which allowed NU to trim a double-digit deficit to 7, 51-58.
But the Tamaraws kept the Bulldogs at bay and put the lead back up in double figures by the payoff period with Gonzales nailing back-to-back layups and Tuffin punctuating the run with a slam off the fast break, 78-65.
FEU broke away early, waxing hot from beyond the arc as Tolentino fired 16 points, highlighted by a 4-of-8 clip from three-point range at the half.
FEU 79 – Tolentino 16, Tuffin 15, Gonzales 9, Stockton 7, Parker 6, Inigo 6, Orizu 6, Bienes 5, Ebona 4, Comboy 3, Bayquin 2, Cani 0, Escoto 0.
NU 74 – Clemente 38, Ildefonso D 12, Diputado 4, Yu 4, Rike 2, Aquino 2, Tibayan 2, Galinato 2, Gallego 2, Salim 2, Gaye 2, Ildefonso S 1, Malonzo 1, Joson 0, Sinclair 0.
Quarters: 19-18, 44-28, 69-61, 79-74.
More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.