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FEU silences UE to complete fourth quarter hijack

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Down for the most part, what a time to flip the switch for the Tamaraws

Trailing by as much as 15 points against a fully energetic University of the East Red Warriors, the Far Eastern University Tamaraws used a 33-point fourth quarter to pull off an impressive come-from-behind win, 92-81, over the Red Warriors held at the Mall of Asia Arena early Wednesday afternoon.

The Tamaraws came off the gates fiery as they charged to an 8-0 start within the 7:45 mark of the opening quarter. Coach Pumaren signalled an early ceasefire that gathered his squad en route to a 12-3 counter for the Red Warriors. During the stretch, their fullcourt defense was effective enough while inside baskets helped them take the lead. FEU would retake the lead for a couple of times in the latter stretch of the quarter but too much energy gave by the Warriors end the quarter with a 15-6 spurt. This was capped with a tough wing triple by Paul Varilla, in addition to Edgar Charcos 5 straight points to put distance against the Tamaraws.

The momentum UE gathered propelled them to a 7-0 burst to start the second period as FEU struggled making the most of their possessions. A triple by UE’s Manalang gave the Red Warriors their biggest lead of the half at 40-25 with 4:45 left. The Tams responded with 8 quick points within two minutes but Bongbong Batiller caught fire as he scored eight out of his team’s last 10 points of the quarter. The Red Warriors had an 11-pt lead at the break as they capitalized on FEU’s whopping 17 turnovers at the half.

FEU made a mini spurt to come within seven points in four minutes into the second half. However, UE would again respond with a quick 6-0 counter as Chris Javier made the plays inside. Despite Raymar Jose also making noise with his easy points, UE was quicker to the 50-50 balls that helped them maintain the lead. At the last 1:37 of the third, Batiller and Clark Derigue inked in five more points to give their team a dozen point advantage entering the fourth.

And then came the one-sided payoff period that went the way for last year’s bridesmaid finishers. They limited UE to only four silent points within eight minutes while their usual core of scorers piled up the baskets to comeback, and eventually take the lead. Achi Iñigo and Mike Tolomia started the berserk as each nailed in a trey to begin the fourth. Afterwards, Mac Belo anchored both the offense and defense as he was able to tie the game at 75 with a three, then followed it up with another basket as his team did not look back since. Varilla finally broke the silence for UE at the 1:16 mark with a jumper but they were suddenly down by double-digits against the loaded Tamaraws team.

“Hard-earned [win], indeed,” an exhausted FEU head coach Nash Racela said after the game. “We promised our players it was going to be a tough week. Hirap na hirap kami. Fourth quarter lang kami nakakuha ng momentum.”

Former HTC Wildcat Edson Batiller was torching the Tamaraws in scoring 18 markers but his offensive surge was stopped by Francis Tamsi. “We accidentally found a Batiller stopper in Tamsi. The plan was to use Monbert Arong but Tamsi was very effective. Tamsi is a disciplined defensive player.”

Finally, coach Racela said that the team needs to be consistent in all four quarters. “We had 24 turnovers today buti na lang we just committed seven in the second half,” he said. “We are consistently inconsistent. We only played defense in the fourth quarter.”

Smart Elite ambassador Mac Belo led all scorers with 24 markers and 8 boards. He was 9/15 from the field, including 3/4 from downtown. Mike Tolomia added 15 points and eight assists.

For the Red Warriors, Batiller led the team with 18 points but was a miserable 6/17 from the field. He added five boards and five dimes.

As a team the Tamaraws shot 49.21% from the field compared to just 38.5% by their rivals. Moreover, the green-and-gold squad was able to go to the charity stripe 34 times, converting on 22, compared to just 15 times by UE.

FEU improves to solo first place with now a 4-1 record while UE drops to a 2-3 slate. The Tamaraws will next face the Adamson Falcons while the Warriors look to bounce back and seek another win against the Green Archers. Both games will be played on September 27, at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

FEU (92) – Belo 24, Tolomia 15, Arong 14, Jose 13, Pogoy 10, Inigo 8, Tamsi 3, Escoto 2, Orizu 2, Escoto 1, Dennison 0, Comboy 0, Trinidad 0, Ebona 0

UE (81) – Batiller 18, Javier 13, Derige 10, Varilla 9, Abanto 8, Charcos 7, De Leon 7, Palma 6, Manalang 3, Penuela 0, Yu 0

Quarters: 21-29, 39-50, 59-71, 92-81.

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