Twice-to-beat Far Eastern University-Diliman showed no rust after a 23-day break, knocking out fourth seed Adamson University, 78-65, to barge in the UAAP Season 82 Boys’ Basketball Tournament Finals, Friday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
FEU put the clamps on Adamson’s two best players, Jake Figueroa and sharpshooter John Erolon. The Season MVP was held to just 11 points on 1-of-6 shooting, while Erolon only had seven markers on a measly 1-of-12 clip.
“Nagawa namin yung game plan namin na i-stop si Figueroa at si Erolon. Masaya ako na nagawa ng mga bata ‘yung homework nila,” said Baby Tamaraws head coach Allan Albano, who is making his second Finals appearance in the High School ranks — fourth overall in the UAAP.
Penny Estacio’s fastbreak layup at the 2:01 mark gave the Baby Tamaraws a 16-point advantage, 72-56, to put the game in the bag.
Up by just four in the second frame, the Baby Tamaraws ended the quarter on a blistering 11-3 sprint to enter halftime ahead by double-figures, 43-31.
Penny Estacio once again led FEU with 18 points, four rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Unheralded Mark Padrones contributed 14 markers.
Jorick Bautista chipped in 11 points, while Cholo Anonuevo added nine markers, 14 rebounds, and three steals.
This is the Baby Tamaraws’ first finals appearance in three years. They will collide against the undefeated National University in the best-of-three finals, scheduled to begin on Friday, March 6, at the same San Juan venue.
“Sinabi ko sa team before the game na sana huwag na kami sa Ateneo sa Monday. So, at least, meron kaming one-week preparation against NU,” said Albano.
FEU only had two losses back in the elimination round, both coming from the unscathed Bullpups.
Joshua Barcelona was the surprise leader for the Baby Falcons with 12 points and 12 rebounds off the bench.
FEU-D 78 — Estacio 18, Padrones 14, Bautista 11, Anonuevo 9, Pasaol 8, Bagunu 6, Sleat 6, Saldua 5, Libago 1, Remogat 0.
AdU 65 — Barcelona 12, Figueroa 11, Quinal 10, Abdulla 8, Erolon 7, Guarino 5, Cosal 4, Dominguez 4, Hanapi 4.
Quarterscores: 24-17, 43-31, 62-51, 78-65.