MANILA – Far Eastern University (FEU) weathered a late surge from the San Sebastian College-Recoletos to escape with a 62-55 victory for its first win in the 2022 Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.
The Tamaraws dropped a 23-1 opening salvo at the start of the game to provide enough distance against the Golden Stags for the entirety of the match.
LJay Gonzales fronted the strong start on offense, firing five points in the first four minutes, while the Tamaraws trampled all over the Golden Stags at the other end, forcing a 0-of-16 field goal shooting as well as 12 turnovers in the first quarter.
San Sebastian was almost scoreless in the opening period before Dylan Garcia split his free throws to finally put them on the board.
However, they still couldn’t buy a basket from the field until Garcia hit a short stab at the 6:44 mark of the second frame.
By then, FEU was up by 20 points and kept a double-digit lead until the fourth quarter.
But San Sebastian rallied back in the game as Rommel Calahat's inside basket pushed the Golden Stags to just down three, 51-54, with 52.7 seconds left.
Royce Alforque had the answer for the Tamaraws though, and his layup with 32.4 ticks kept FEU's lead.
"We had to remind them about the fundamentals. Our team, especially our guards, likes to gamble. We always have to tell them to stay disciplined," said acting head coach Eric Gonzales following its first win in three tries in Group B.
Alforque finished with 11 points and seven rebounds, while Patrick Sleat chimed in 13 markers, four boards, and three assists of his own.
aymart Escobido topped the scoring column with 13 points for San Sebastian, while Michael Are also added 12.
Meanwhile, in the opening game, Jielo Razon drained his only three pointer when it mattered most as he carried the University of Perpetual Help against Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC), 66-63.
Razon had missed all eight of his prior attempts when the two teams were tied at 63-all in the dying seconds. But on his ninth attempt, the cager nailed the game-winning dagger three to beat the Generals.
“Ang kapal talaga ng mukha. 'Di naman para sa kanya 'yun. Tinira lang niya," said head coach Myk Saguiguit of the gunner he had been mentoring since high school. "He's been missing a lot of shots e, pero any given time, ibibigay ko sa kanya 'yun."
“'Yung teammates and coaches ko, sinabi itira ko lang. Salamat sa tiwala nila, napaganda pa na game-winner,” said Razon, who also had seven rebounds and seven assists to go along with his lone make.
Cyrus Nitura also delivered 17 points, 10 boards for the Altas, who improved to 1-1 in Group A.
Tied with them in the standings are the Generals who were led by Ralph Robin's 23 points, while Gurtiza and Allen Liwag chipped in 12 markers apiece.