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FEU caps 2015 campaign with National Championship



15 days ago, the Far Eastern University won the UAAP Men’s Basketball Championship after a decade-long drought.

To cap their 2015 campaign, the Morayta-based squad, even without their six seniors, took their third National Championship in an 82-77 win over the reigning CESAFI champions the University of San Carlos Warriors, early Thursday evening at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.

USC Warriors picked up the pace early in the game and led 8-3. The UAAP champions then grabbed the lead at the 6:25 mark after a transition jumper from Steve Holmqvist, 11-10. Both teams traded baskets to end the quarter as FEU held on to the lead, 24-16.

Early fouls from the Tamaraws gave a chance to the CESAFI titlists to stay in the game. A triple from USC’s Ian Tagapan, 6:41 left in the half, cut the deficit to three, 21-24. The Tamaraws pulled away again to push back the lead at 5 and maintained a slim two-point cushion off a buzzer-beater jumper from Ken Holmqvist.

In the third quarter, FEU continued to hold on the lead with great interior passing, 42-36, off a Jojo Trinidad shot. The Warriors forced the Tamaraws to commit fouls and stayed within striking distance after a three-point play from William McAloney and a split from Shooster Olago, 40-42. After Espoir Toyambi regained the lead for USC, 45-44, off a free throw, FEU wrested the advantage back. A great pass from Allen Delos Santos to Joseph Nunag ended the quarter for FEU, 57-49.

The Warriors slashed the lead to three, 51-54, at the start of the final canto, with four straight points from Tagapan. From there, FEU built up the advantage again from the paint with an and-one from Prince Orizu, 64-57. The lead went to as high as 13, 70-57, with a transition trey from Steve Holmqvist. USC tried to mount a comeback and pushed the deficit back to four, 66-70, off a fastbreak basket from Charles Pepito. Trinidad then took over to steady the ship for the Tamaraws with 12 unanswered points to clinch the title for the UAAP champions, 82-77.

Co-coach of the year Nash Racela shared that winning this championship was not actually part of their plan. “It certainly helped that there are co-champions this year. There are things that is beyond our control.”

The positive thing that came out in this game for the Tamaraws was that it gave their players exposure according to Racela. “There is potential in those kids. The Holmqvist brothers and especially Jojo Trinidad in the second half had great outing that will build their confidence.”

“These games will help us prepare for next season. But there’s still no guarantee on who will be here next season,” he added. “It depends with their maturity and their development.”

Jojo Trinidad led the Tamaraws with 19 markers in just 17 minutes of action. He was able to knock down two triples and was able to dish out a couple of dimes. Tournament MVP Ken Holmqvist, who hardly played during the UAAP season, had a spectacular outing in notching a double-double. The Fil-Norwegian had 17 points, on 8/11 shooting, and 11 boards. His older brother Steve Holmqvist added ten points.

For the Warriors, former Tamaraw Ian Tagapan was the high point man in scoring 20 points on 7/19 shooting. Cameroonian student-athlete Shooster Olaga was limited to just 14 points, six rebounds, and committed six turnovers. Tongan big man Espoir Toyambi had 13 points and seven rebounds.

As a team, the Tamaraws shot 42% from the field compared to just 36% by their opponents. Free throw shooting doomed the Cebuano-based team in shooting ust 17/33 from the charity stripe.

With the win, the Far Eastern University Tamaraws will keep the MVP Perpetual Trophy for the latter half of the year.

The Scores:
FEU (82) – Trinidad 19, Holmqvist K. 17, Holmqvist S. 10, Bienes 9, Orizu 8, Comboy 7, Ebona 4, Nunag 4, Lee Yu 2, Roxas 2, Delos Santos 0, Arong 0, Bayquin 0.
USC (77) – Tagapan 20, Olago 14, Toyambi 13, McAloney 9, Pepito 7, Ortega 6, Laguyo 5, Magat 3, Maconocido 0, Rabat 0, Lim 0, Ecarma 0.
Quarterscores: 24-16, 36-34, 57-49, 82-77.


Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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