UAAP: FEU waxes hot late against UST, boosts Final 4 bid

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 13 2019 06:23 PM | Updated as of Oct 13 2019 06:51 PM

UAAP: FEU waxes hot late against UST, boosts Final 4 bid 1
FEU guard Royce Alforque goes for a lay-up against UST. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - (UPDATED) The Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws found their mark from long range late in the fourth quarter, and took down University of Santo Tomas (UST), 72-58, in the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball tournament on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

With Royce Alforque running the show, Rey Bienes, Xyrus Torres, and Ino Comboy all knocked down their shots to turn a slim 53-51 lead into a comfortable victory for the Tamaraws.

The result gave FEU a 5-5 win-loss record, tied with UST in the standings. The two teams are tied for third and fourth places.

"Every win counts in the second round," said FEU coach Olsen Racela. "Sinabi ko sa mga players ko before the game, every game is a do-or-die game. We treated this game like that, and the boys responded."

Alforque was superb, scoring 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting while adding 6 assists; the rookie point guard did not commit a single turnover in 21 minutes of playing time. LJ Gonzales led the Tams with 17 points and 6 rebounds, while Alec Stockton added 10 points.

The Tamaraws were in control most of the way, leading 53-45 with 7:13 left after back-to-back lay-ups by Gonzales. But UST responded quickly, with Rhenz Abando and Mark Nonoy each drilling three-pointers to cut the deficit to two points, 53-51, with still 6:34 left.

It was Alforque who rose to the occasion for FEU. The rookie assisted on back-to-back three-pointers by Torres and Comboy, restoring a 59-51 advantage with 4:33 left. After a Renzo Subido jumper, Alforque found Bienes open for another triple, then zoomed past Soulemane Chabi Yo in transition for a 64-53 FEU lead with 2:34 to go.

It was all FEU from there, as Gonzales knocked down a jumper, and Bienes fired two more three-pointers to give the Tams a double-digit advantage.

This marks the first time that Aldin Ayo has lost to FEU since he started coaching in the UAAP in 2016; the Tigers had beaten the Tams, 82-74, in the first round.

"Like I always tell my players, whether it's a win or a loss, whether we play well or we had a turnover, we focus on the next play," said Racela. "After UST now, we focus on Ateneo."

Brent Paraiso led UST with 12 points, while Abando had 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting. Chabi Yo was limited to just 7 points, though he had 15 rebounds and two blocks. The Tigers shot a paltry 29.3% from the field, including only 9 of 42 from the three-point area.

FEU, meanwhile, made 42.47% of its shots, and hit five of their nine three-pointers in the fourth frame.

The result of the game assured defending champion Ateneo of a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final 4.

The Scores:

FEU 72 -- Gonzales 17, Alforque 16, Stockton 10, Bienes 9, Comboy 7, Torres 5, Cani 4, Tuffin 3, Tchuente 1, Ebona 0, Mantua 0.

UST 58 -- Paraiso 12, Abando 11, Huang 11, Chabi Yo 7, Nonoy 6, Cansino 5, Subido 4, Concepcion 2, Ando 0, Bataller 0, Bordeos 0, Cosejo 0, Cuajao 0.

Quarters: 14-10, 26-23, 45-39, 72-58.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.