MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) The Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws throttled the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons, 85-71, Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena to earn their second win of the UAAP Season 77 men's basketball tournament.
"We treated this game as a very important one, especially coming off a loss," said FEU coach Nash Racela, referring to their 67-69 setback to the University of Santo Tomas (UST) last week. "I think the previous loss gave us a lot of lessons, and those are the things we tried to work on the last couple of days."
After UP cut a double-digit lead to one, 38-39, late in the second period, the Tamaraws out-scored them 31-8 in a run bridging the end of the second quarteruntil the end of the third quarter to take complete control of the ball game.
FEU held UP to only a single field goal in the third period -- a Kyles Lao jumper early in the frame. Their other six points of the canto came through free throws;in total, the Maroons made only one of their 16 attempts in the third quarter, for a 6% conversion rate.
In contrast, the Tamaraws got scoring from a variety of sources, including Carl Bryan Cruz, Anthony Hargrove and Raymar Jose, who took advantage of UP's smaller frontline to score from close range.
"The third quarter is how the game should be played," Racela said after the game. "Walang pilit-pilit, just making the right decisions, finding the open guy, and then defending."
FEU took their biggest lead of the game at 78-62, when Mike Tolomia drilled a three-pointer with 7:47 to go in the final period.
A late scoring burst led by Agustini Amar made the score more respectable, but it was not enough as the Maroons dropped to 0-4 this season. It was their 25th consecutive loss dating back to 2012.
The Tamaraws hiked their slate to 2-1. Tolomia led the way for FEU with 18 points, making all but one of his eight field goal attempts. Mac Belo added 12 points and nine rebounds.
"I think today, as a team, we were still struggling," Racela noted. "But when we were able to correct those mistakes, it was a beauty. Maganda kaming panoorin kapag tama 'yung mga decision namin."
The Maroons still led, 14-11, after a JR Gallarza triple, but FEU took a 17-16 lead after Belo put back a missed free throw. The Tamaraws led 28-21 after a high-scoring first quarter that saw them convert 80% of their shot, while UP shot 53%.
FEU led by as much as 11 points, 32-21, after a Belo bucket, but UP kept in range thanks to timely triples by Gallarza and buckets by guards Henri Asilum and Mikee Reyes.
After FEU took a 39-31 lead with less than five minutes left in the half, UP went on a 7-1 run built on another Gallarza triple and a Dave Moralde four-point play to make it a one-point game, 38-39.
It was the Tamaraws who ended the half on a stronger note, however, as they reeled off six unanswered points to end the second quarter and take a 45-38 lead going into the halftime. FEU converted 63% of their field goals in the first half.
Lao's jumper at the 8:51 mark of the third period cut the lead to five points, but it proved to be the lone bright spot of the half for UP as the Tamaraws broke the game wide open from there.
Gallarza finished with 18 points -- 14 in the first half -- to lead the Maroons, while Moralde added 14 points and Lao finished with 10 markers.
FEU, after shooting 63% at halftime, finished with a 56% field goal percentage. UP's shooting percentage plummeted after the first quarter, and the Maroons finished with a 38% clip. The Tamaraws also controlled the boards, 47-27, and got 42 points from their bench while the UP reserves only scored 19.
FEU 85 - Tolomia 18, Belo 12, Pogoy 11, Cruz 11, Hargrove 7, Dennison 7, Tamsi 4, Jose 4, Inigo 3, Denila 3, Delfinado 2, Escoto Ru. 0, Escoto Ri. 0, David 0, Ugsang 0, Lee Yu 0.
UP 71 - Gallarza 18, Moralde 14, Lao 10, Juruena 8, Amar 8, Asilum 7, Gingerich 3, Vito 3, Reyes 2, Dario 0, Lim 0, Harris 0.
Quarter-scoring: 28-21, 45-38, 70-46, 85-71