ANTIPOLO — Far Eastern University emphatically barged into the Final Four of the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball tournament, routing University of the East, 82-58, Sunday at the Ynares Center.
It was a blistering shooting performance for the Tamaraws, who went 12-of-31 from beyond the arc to lock up a spot in the semifinals with their 8-6 card.
Wendell Comboy led that barrage with 17 points on a 5-of-7 shooting from threes, while also hauling down four rebounds. Ken Tuffin buried nine points on a 3-of-8 clip from downtown, alongside three boards and three assists.
L-Jay Gonzales also was all over the floor with his 12 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists. Meanwhile, Royce Alforque came off the bench and registered 13 points and three assists.
“Well, who would have thought of us making it to the Final Four?” said a jubilant coach Olsen Racela. “Walang naniwala sa amin except sa mga nasa loob ng circle namin, and of course, the FEU community.”
Still, UE fought back and cut the 40-26 halftime lead down to just 11, 53-42. But FEU responded with four straight points to finish the third canto, before their three-point shots continued to fall in the fourth quarter. Xyrus Torres’ three then pushed the lead up to 24, 67-43, with 5:37 left.
It was a sweet victory for the Tamaraws, but Racela is well aware that there are bigger wars still ahead of them.
“We’re not done yet,” he said. “Our goal every year is to make it to the Final Four, then we move on. We’ve achieved our first goal, next goal na kami.”
Rey Suerte notched 16 points, 11 rebounds, five steals, and four assists for UE, which suffered its fifth consecutive loss to drop to 3-10.
Alex Diakhite registered a double-double of 13 points, 10 boards, three blocks, and two dimes in the Red Warriors’ loss.
Nick Abanto served his one-game suspension in this game, stemming from when he hit Ateneo’s Will Navarro last week.
FEU 82 — Comboy 17, Alforque 13, Gonzales 12, Tuffin 9, Stockton 7, Tchuente 5, Ebona 4, Torres 3, Bayquin 2, Bienes 2, Cani 2, Dulatre 2, Nunag 2, Tempra 2, Celzo 0, Mantua 0.
UE 58 — Suerte 16, Diakhite 13, Cruz 12, Tolentino 9, Manalang 5, Apacible 3, Antiporda 0, Beltran 0, Conner 0, Lorenzana 0, Mendoza 0, Pagsanjan 0, Sawat 0.
Quarterscores: 15-14, 40-26, 57-42, 82-58.
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