UAAP: FEU overwhelms UE, secures Final 4 spot

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 27 2019 03:56 PM | Updated as of Oct 27 2019 06:35 PM

UAAP: FEU overwhelms UE, secures Final 4 spot 1
Ino Comboy waxed hot from beyond the arc in the first half to help FEU pull away from UE. UAAP

ANTIPOLO -- (UPDATE) Far Eastern University (FEU) became the second team to clinch a playoff berth in UAAP Season 82, following a comfortable 82-58 victory over University of the East (UE) on Sunday at the Ynares Center. 

The Tamaraws used a big second quarter to pull away from the Red Warriors, and did not let up in the second half. The result ensured that FEU will finish the elimination round with an 8-6 win-loss record.

By virtue of their superior quotient, FEU is assured of a spot in the Final 4, even if they wind up with identical records to University of the Philippines (UP), De La Salle University, and the University of Santo Tomas (UST) at the end of the eliminations.

A win by UP in the second game against La Salle will boot out the Green Archers and complete the Final 4 picture. 

"Who would've thought, 'di ba, us making it to the Final 4? Walang naniwala sa amin except 'yung mga nasa loob ng circle namin and the FEU community," said FEU head coach Olsen Racela.

"Pero we're not done yet. Our goal every year is really to make it to the Final 4, and then we move on to our next goal. So we achieved our first goal and next goal na kami," he added. 

The Tamaraws led by just one point, 15-14, at the end of the opening frame before exploding for 25 points in the second period.

They found their range from beyond the arc in the second quarter, with Alec Stockton, Ken Tuffin, and Ino Comboy all hitting their shots from distance. Comboy beat the halftime buzzer for his third triple of the game, allowing the Tams to head into the break with a 40-26 cushion. 

FEU's lead eventually ballooned to 24 points, 67-43, after a Xyrus Torres three-pointer with 5:26 left.

Comboy finished with 17 points, shooting 5-of-7 from beyond the arc, along with four rebounds for the Tamaraws. Royce Alforque had 13 points and 3 assists, while sophomore guard LJ Gonzales had 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 dimes. 

Their impressive victory over the Red Warriors wrapped up a tremendous second round for the Tamaraws. They won just 3 games in the first round, and suffered a massive 61-39 defeat to cellar-dweller National University (NU). But they turned their season around in the second round, gaining important wins over UST, UP, and La Salle. 

They wound up going 5-2 in the second round, with their losses coming against Ateneo de Manila University and NU -- the team that served as their Achilles' heel in Season 82.

FEU is making its seventh consecutive Final 4 appearance. 

Rey Suerte had 16 points, 11 rebounds, 5 steals and 4 assists to lead UE, while Alex Diakhite had 13 points and 10 boards. However, the Red Warriors shot a paltry 28.77% from the field, and they allowed FEU to make 45.8% of their attempts. 

UE played without veteran Nick Abanto, who served a one-game suspension.

The Red Warriors lost their fifth straight game to drop to 3-10, heading into their season-ender against NU on Wednesday. 

The scores:

FEU 82 -- Comboy 17, Alforque 13, Gonzales 12, Tuffin 9, Stockton 7, Tchuente 5, Ebona 4, Torres 3, Bayquin 2, Bienes 2, Cani 2, Dulatre 2, Nunag 2, Tempra 2, Celzo 0, Mantua 0.

UE 58 -- Suerte 16, Diakhite 13, Cruz 12, Tolentino 9, Manalang 5, Apacible 3, Antiporda 0, Beltran 0, Conner 0, Lorenzana 0, Mendoza 0, Pagsanjan 0, Sawat 0.

Quarter scores: 15-14, 40-26, 57-42, 82-58.

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