MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE) Far Eastern University (FEU) hit two birds with one stone on Wednesday, as it boosted its Final 4 chances while also elimination Adamson University from contention with a hard-earned 63-60 triumph at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Tamaraws survived a nervy final minute, holding on for a victory that hiked their record to 7-6 in the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball tournament.
The result also sent Adamson to 4-8, formally eliminating them from the race to the Final 4. This marks the first time that the Falcons have missed the semifinals in the Franz Pumaren era.
"We haven't done anything yet," said FEU head coach Olsen Racena. "We have no reason to celebrate, and tomorrow, babalik ulit kami sa prepasyon namin for UE, our last game on Sunday."
The Tamaraws led by 10 points, 59-49, with under seven minutes to go before the Falcons slowly cut into the deficit. They made it a 3-point game, 59-56, with still 4:04 to go after Jerom Lastimosa poached the ball and went all the way for a lay-up.
A three-pointer by Ino Comboy restored a 6-point cushion, 62-56, but buckets by Lastimosa and Lenda Douanga made it a one-possession game, 62-60, with still 1:45 to play.
LJ Gonzales' split at the line gave the Tamaraws a 3-point lead, 63-60, with 1:28 to go. It was the last time that both teams got on the scoreboard, but not for Adamson's lack of trying.
Val Chauca bricked a triple that could have tied the game with a 64 seconds to go, but Adamson got another chance when Barkley Ebona turned the ball over right under the basket. The Falcons got Simon Camacho open close to the hoop, but the veteran misfired on a floater.
Adamson had one more opportunity after Comboy's inbound pass was picked off, giving them the possession with still 11 seconds to go. Their comeback fell short, however, with Lastimosa's triple bouncing off the rim as time expired.
"Adamson is a strong team, well-coached team. I told the players na babalik at babalik ang Adamson," said Racela. "I told them to focus on the defense, and ang defense namin carried us in the second half."
Comboy, Gonzales, and Ken Tuffin each scored 11 points, as FEU won despite committing 22 turnovers that led to 18 points for the Soaring Falcons. They shackled Adamson to just 29% shooting from the field, including just 2-of-27 from beyond the arc.
Jerrick Ahanmisi, Douanga, and Aaron Fermin each scored 10 points for Adamson, with Douanga also grabbing 22 rebounds.
After last Sunday's loss to University of the Philippines, the Falcons needed to sweep their last three assignments to stay in the Final 4 race, but faltered at the first hurdle.
FEU 63 -- Comboy 11, Gonzales 11, Tuffin 11, Bienes 6, Stockton 6, Nunag 5, Ebona 4, Tchuente 4, Torres 3, Alforque 2, Cani 0.
ADAMSON 60 -- Ahanmisi 10, Douanga 10, Fermin 10, Lastimosa 9, Camacho 6, Manlapaz 5, Sabandal 4, Mojica 3, Yerro 2, Chauca 1, Bernardo 0, Magbuhos 0.
Quarter scores: 22-12, 43-31, 50-41, 63-60
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