MANILA, Philippines -- Far Eastern University (FEU)-Diliman bounced back from its first loss of the season by trouncing De La Salle-Zobel, 80-58, to notch its third win in four games in the UAAP Season 85 high school boys' basketball tournament, Wednesday at the Filoil Ecooil Centre.
The Baby Tamaraws were coming off a 71-73 defeat at the hands of Adamson University last Sunday.
"Breaks of the game nangyari last game," said FEU-D assistant coach Denok Miranda, who was filling in for head coach Allan Albano for the third straight game as the latter's dad passed away last week. "Kinausap namin sila to stay positive at matuto sa game na 'yun. Kailangan namin 'yung ganung experience pagdating sa big games. Good experience sa amin 'yun."
The Junior Archers held a slim 29-28 lead after the first half, but the Baby Tamaraws turned things around in the third quarter behind Liam Salangsang.
Salangsang scored all nine of his points in the pivotal period, where the Baby Tams unloaded 30 points as a team to take control of the contest, 58-41.
The FEU-D lead reached a peak of 26 points, 71-45, after a JR Pasaol trey with 7:45 remaining.
"First half kasi medyo tight ang mga players at hindi rin kami maka-shoot. Give credit din sa Zobel dahil maganda rin 'yung depensa nila. Maganda naman 'yung second half at naka-adjust kami. May inside points kami at nag-connect na 'yung three-point shot namin. Na-contain din namin sila at gumana na 'yung defensive schemes namin," said Miranda.
Pasaol once again led the Baby Tamaraws in scoring with 18 points to go along with six assists.
Luke Felipe added 14 points and eight rebounds while both Cabs Cabonilas (10 points and 12 rebounds) and Kirby Mongcopa (10 points and 11 rebounds) produced double-doubles.
Ryhle Melencio led DLSZ with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Waki Espina also chipped in 14 markers.
VJ Pre (toncilitis) missed the game for FEU-D, while Kieffer Alas (groin injury) sat out for DLSZ, who fell to 1-3 in the standings.
In the next game, Lebron Nieto made his return for Ateneo de Manila High School, lifting his side to a thrilling 71-66 win over University of Santo Tomas (UST).
Nieto missed the Blue Eagles' game last Sunday against Nazareth School of National University due to a sprained ankle sustained last Wednesday against University of the Philippines Integrated School.
With the game knotted at 64-all with 2:12 remaining, Nieto drained a long elbow jumper to give the Blue Eagles the lead. In the next possession, the Gilas Youth captain was able to catch Charles Bucsit off guard, notching a foul while attempting a three-pointer, and calmly drained the three free throws.
"Well, it was an ugly win but it was a win that we badly needed," said Blue Eagles head coach Reggie Varilla. "The boys just buckled down on defense in the second half and we just found a way."
Nieto finished with 18 points, going 10-of-10 from the charity stripe.
"Seventy-five percent pa lang daw siya e but we'll take it," said Varilla.
Kristian Porter also tallied nine points and 10 rebounds for the Blue Eagles, who evened their slate to 2-2 -- tied with UST.
Mark Llemit and James Jumao-as both produced double-doubles in the loss with the former leading the way with 19 points and 10 rebounds while the latter got 15 points and 11 rebounds.
FEU-D (80) -- Pasaol 18, Felipe 14, Mongcopa 10, Cabonilas 10, Salangsang 9, Miranda 6, Pascual 6, Daa 5, Bautista 2, Cabigting 0.
DLSZ (58) -- Melencio 14, Espina 14, Chang 9, Dimaano 9, San Agustin 8, Melecio 4, Pabellano 0, John 0, Dionisio 0, Sta. Maria 0, Arejola 0, Cruz 0, Dimalanta 0, Legaspi 0, Favis 0.
Quarterscores: 13-17, 28-29, 58-41, 80-58
Ateneo (71) -- Nieto 18, Porter 9, Ebdane 8, Adevoso 8, Salandanan 7, Domangcas 6, Delos Santos 4, De Guzman 3, Arada 3, Santiago 2, Fidel 2, Urbina 1, Prado 0, Aguirre 0, Tupas 0.
UST (66) -- Llemit 19, Jumao-as 15, Manding 12, Pangilinan 8, Bucsit 4, Tesocan 4, Esteban 2, Buenaflor 2, Ayon 0, Naron 0.
Quarterscores: 21-18, 39-42, 54-53, 71-66
UAAP Season 85 is streaming on iWantTFC every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, available for Premium users outside the Philippines.