The Far Eastern University Tamaraws collapsed from a 19-point advantage but still pulled off an 82-79 overtime win over the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons in the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball Tournament, Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Ken Tuffin blazed with his 5-of-6 clip from beyond the arc to finish with a season-best 18 points alongside five rebounds. The Tamaraws now force a three-way logjam in third with UST and La Salle, all carrying a 4-4 card.
L-Jay Gonzales also made his imprint in the game with a career-high 17 points, to go with 12 boards and six assists.
FEU managed to avoid the ignominy of falling after already erecting a 57-38 third quarter lead.
The lead did dissipate in the fourth quarter, with UP fighting back from a 69-53 deficit with 16 unanswered points in the final 5:58. Javi Gomez de Liano’s steal-and-score then knotted the game at 69 with 24.7 seconds left.
Wendell Comboy still had a shot to win the game, but his late trey rimmed out at the end of regulation.
He then got his redemption in the overtime period, scoring five points for the Tamaraws, including the big fadeaway jumper that put his side up by three with 18.3 ticks remaining.
The Fighting Maroons once again went to Javi Gomez de Liano, but his trey could not find the bottom of the net.
Comboy nabbed 10 points, five rebounds, and three assists in the win.
“We told them to focus on what’s right in front of us, which is UP, and that’s what we did,” said coach Olsen Racela. “We just took it possession by possession, focused on every second. We started well, didn’t end well sa regulation, pero nakabalik kami nung overtime.”
Cameroonian center Patrick Tchuente tallied a double-double for FEU with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Xyrus Torres shot a perfect 4-of-4 clip for his 12.
It’s now back-to-back losses for UP to fall to a 5-3 record as it played its first game without head coach Bo Perasol, who is on the first of his league-imposed three-game suspension stemming from his outburst against Ateneo.
Kobe Paras topped the Fighting Maroons with 22 points — on a poor 9-of-24 clip — with nine rebounds and six steals. Bright Akhuetie added 14 points and 11 boards.
FEU only have a few days to catch their breaths before they go up against the NU Bulldogs on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 10:30am at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Meanwhile, UP play again next Saturday, Oct. 12, 4:00pm against the UE Red Warriors.
FEU 82 — Tuffin 18, Gonzales 17, Tchuente 14, Torres 12, Comboy 10, Stockton 5, Cani 4, Eboña 2, Alforque 0, Bayquin 0, Bienes 0, Celzo 0, Nunag 0.
UP 79 — Paras 22, Akhuetie 14, Ja. Gomez de Liaño 11, Ju. Gomez de Liaño 8, Manzo 7, Tungcab 5, Rivero 4, Spencer 3, Webb 3, Prado 2, Jaboneta 0, Murrell 0.
Quarterscores: 18-17, 30-27, 60-43, 69-69, 82-79.