UP squanders 16-pt lead, loses to FEU

by Camille Naredo, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Aug 18 2011 03:43 PM | Updated as of Aug 20 2011 03:48 AM

Jose Manuel of the UP Fighting Maroons tries to get past Russel Escoto and Aldrech Ramos of the FEU Tamaraws in their game at the UAAP, Thursday, August 18. FEU pulled off from UP's ten-point lead in the fourth quarter sealing off their victory 59-53.  Photo by Diana Moraleda for abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - (UPDATED) Reigning UAAP most valuable player RR Garcia bucked a listless 1st half to tow the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws past the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons, 59-53, in their 2nd round match in UAAP Season 74.

Garcia exploded for 25 points, 18 of which came in the 4th quarter, to help FEU avenge its 1st round loss against the Maroons.

The Tamaraws also snapped a 3-game losing streak, which began with their 1st round loss against UP.

UP seemed poised to repeat its 1st round upset of the Tamaraws, but Garcia refused to let his team lose, taking over in the 4th quarter.

Mike Gamboa hit a 3-pointer with 7:57 left that gave UP its biggest lead of the game at 16 points, 51-35.

But Garcia ignited a 8-0 run to cut the lead to single digits, 51-43.

UP's Paolo Romero then made a mid-range jumper to put the lead back up to 10, 53-43.

That, however, would be the last points that the Maroons would score for the game, as FEU closed the 4th period with a 16-0 blast.

Garcia scored 14 of those 16 points for FEU, including the go-ahead basket with 1:12 to go.

The Tamaraws' zone defense held the Maroons scoreless in the last 4:38 seconds of the game, as UP was forced to bomb away from beyond the arc.

UP was in control for most of the ball game, thanks to Romero who led the Maroons with 11 points in the 1st half.

The Maroons were also able to shackle FEU scorers early in the game, as the Tamaraws scored a combined 20 points in the 2nd and 3rd periods.

Garcia only had 5 points in the 1st half.

But UP fell apart at the worst possible moment, while Garcia came alive at the right time for the Tamaraws.

The Maroons had only 2 field goals in the pivotal 4th quarter. Of their 13 attempts, 11 came from beyond the arc.

Garcia, meanwhile, made all 5 of his 2-point field goals and 2 of his 3 attempts from beyond the arc.

With their victory, the Tamaraws are now in solo 3rd place with a 5-4 record. The Maroons, meanwhile, fall to 2-7.

Box scores:

FEU - Garcia 25, Cruz 11, Ramos 8, Exciminiano 6, Romeo 4, Pogoy 2, Escoto 2, Tolomia 1, Mendoza 0, Foronda 0, Bringas 0 , Knuttel 0

UP - Romero 17, Silungan 10, Gamboa 10, Manuel 6, Maniego 4, Juruena 4, Montecastro 2, Wong 0, Mbah 0, Gingerich 0