MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) Far Eastern University concluded its UAAP Season 85 campaign on a triumphant note, overpowering the University of Santo Tomas 77-62 in their final game at the Araneta Coliseum on Saturday.
The Tamaraws snapped a four-game losing streak to end the season with a 5-9 win-loss record. For the Growling Tigers, their 12th straight loss dropped them to 1-12, heading into their final assignment against De La Salle University on Wednesday.
LJay Gonzales led the way for FEU with 15 points, four rebounds, four assists, and two steals in the win. Bryan Sajonia contributed 11 points, four steals, two turnovers, and two assists, while Xyrus Torres had 10 points and three boards.
"In the past five years that I've been here, six years, we always finished the season with a loss," noted FEU coach Olsen Racela. "This is something different that we can carry moving forward to the next season, or even sa Pasko, na matapos namin ang season namin with a win."
FEU's streak of eight consecutive Final 4 appearances ended in Season 85; a 0-5 start to the tournament left them with a mountain to climb just to stay in contention. But to have ended the year with a victory was a much-needed silver lining for the Tamaraws.
They broke open what had been a tight game via an 11-0 blast to end the third quarter, with Patrick Sleat highlighting the run with a buzzer-beating three-pointer. The Tamaraws were in control, 56-45, entering the final period.
Buckets by Christian Manaytay and Adama Faye brought the Tigers within single digits, 60-53, with still 6:40 to play. But out of a timeout, the Tamaraws responded with a 12-0 blast to gain separation anew, 72-53.
Their 19-point lead was the biggest of the game, after Faye goal-tended a hook shot by Patrick Tchuente.
Back-to-back triples by JC Garing gave UST some hope, 72-59, but Gonzales' three-point play and a layup by Kyle Bautista dashed any chance of a comeback by the Growling Tigers as FEU restored a 77-59 advantage with just 69 seconds to play.
The Tigers were without leading scorer Nic Cabañero for the ball game. In his place, Lazarte scored 13 points, while Manaytay and Faye had 10 points each. The UST center also grabbed 18 rebounds in the game, but he also committed eight of the Tigers' 24 turnovers in the contest.
FEU 77 -- Gonzales 15, Sajonia 11, Torres 10, Sleat 9, Sandagon 8, Alforque 7, Tchuente 7, Bautista 3, Gravera 3, Anonuevo 2, Songcuya 2, Ona 0, Tempra 0, Bagunu 0, Celzo 0, Guibao 0.
UST 62 -- Lazarte 13, Faye 10, Manaytay 10, Garing 9, Laure 7, Manalang 5, Pangilinan 5, Duremdes 3, Escobido 0, Mantua 0, Herrera 0.
Quarters: 24-17, 40-33, 56-45, 77-62.
UAAP Season 85 is streaming on iWantTFC every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, available for Premium users outside the Philippines.