Tamaraws fend off gutsy Maroons

By Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Sep 13 2012 04:22 PM | Updated as of Sep 14 2012 04:07 AM

Far Eastern University guard RR Garcia goes for a lay-up against University of the Philippines' Cris Ball in their second round match-up of UAAP Season 75 Thursday at the PhilSports Arena. The Tamaraws escaped the Fighting Maroons, 67-63. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com.

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) The Far Eastern University Tamaraws endured a tough challenge from the upset-minded University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, escaping with a 67-63 victory in their second round match-up Thursday at the PhilSports Arena.

The Tamaraws ended the game on a 6-0 run to overhaul a slim deficit against the Maroons as they boosted their chances of gaining a twice-to-beat advantage in the UAAP Season 75 Final Four.

“Buti na lang panalo. Kahit four points ‘yan, panalo pa din,” said a relieved coach Bert Flores after the game.

The Fighting Maroons kept in step with the Tamaraws for most of the way and took their final lead of the ballgame through a Raul Soyud floater with 2:24 to go to make it 63-62.

But in the next FEU possession, Anthony Hargrove put back a missed shot by RR Garcia to put the Tamaraws ahead for good, 64-63.

The Maroons had several chances to take the lead, but Soyud committed an illegal screen off a timeout. Two free throws by Roger Pogoy extended FEU’s lead to 66-63, and the Maroons wasted a chance to cut into the deficit when Cris Ball missed a point-blank lay-up.

UP still had a chance to go for a tie following a turnover by Terrence Romeo, but Mike Silungan missed a potential game-tying three-pointer and Garcia iced the game from the free throw line.

“Halos lahat ng team ngayon, gumaganda. Lahat pwede maka-silat,” Flores said.

Pogoy led the Tamaraws with 16 points, while Romeo finished with 13 markers. The Tamaraws’ record improved to 9-3, tied with the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers in the league standings.

The two squads were tied at 34 after the first half, despite the Tamaraws’ 52% field goal shooting.

Garcia fired eight points in the third quarter to put the Tamaraws in control, 53-48, going into the final canto, but momentum shifted in the Maroons’ favor after a series of unsportsmanlike fouls called against FEU.

Mark Belo and Arvie Bringas were both called for unsportsmanlike fouls early in the final period, which sparked the Maroons’ fightback from a 51-57 deficit.

Bringas’ unsportsmanlike foul prompted Flores to joke that he will just put the burly forward into the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

After a Pogoy lay-up gave FEU a 60-56 lead, Alvin Padilla scored five straight points to put the Maroons ahead.

Romeo then made two free throws to give the Tams the lead, only for Soyud to snatch it back for the Maroons a few seconds later.

That would be the last time the Maroons scored, however, as UP was held scoreless in the final 2:24 of the contest.

The Maroons’ record dropped to 1-12.

The scores:

FEU 67 - Pogoy 16, Romeo 13, Garcia 11, Belo 7, Hargrove 5, Escoto 4, M. Bringas 4, A. Bringas 3, Mendoza 2, Cruz 2, Inigo 0

UP 63 - Silungan 12, Padilla 11, Soyud 8, Montecastro 7, Ball 6, Manuel 5, Lopez 4, Hipolito 3, Gamboa 3, Mbah 2, Asilum 2, Romero 0, Gallarza 0

Quarter scoring: 16-18, 34-34, 53-48, 67-63