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Tiebreaker Times


UP Fighting Maroons survive FEU rally for first win

The University of the Philippines held off the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, 61-55, for their first win in the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball tournament Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Javi Gomez de Liano outshone his fancied new teammates in their first match. He registered 22 points, six rebounds, and three assists to guide the Fighting Maroons to the opening day victory.

The win, however, almost didn’t materialize. The Tamaraws crawled back from 38-27 at halftime, and tied the game at 55 with 4:06 to play.

Bright Akhuetie converted on a hook shot with 1:35 on the clock to once again put UP up, 57-55. Hubert Cani and Wendell Comboy then both muffled their potential go-ahead buckets for FEU.

Jun Manzo iced the game from the charity stripe in the final 10.6 seconds to lock up the six-point win.

Manzo collected nine points, four rebounds, four assists, and two steals, while reigning UAAP Most Valuable Player Akhuetie garnered seven points and 11 rebounds.

Coach Bo Perasol, however, knows that the triumph wouldn’t be possible if not for Gomez de Liano.

“There were a lot of times that Javi bailed us out,” he lamented. “I don’t think I would like to be happy with how we executed things, but the way Javi scored against FEU was what bailed us out.”

Kobe Paras missed the game for UP due to a sprained right ankle he sustained during UP’s practice last Monday.

Brandrey Bienes led FEU with nine points, three rebounds, two assists. L-Jay Gonzales chimed in eight points, seven boards, six assists, and two steals. Cameroonian bruiser Patrick Tchuente made eight points, 14 rebounds, and two rejections in his first game for the Tamaraws.

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UP have a short break before they face the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers on Saturday, 07 September, 4:00pm. Meanwhile, FEU play the day after against the University of the East Red Warriors. Both games are at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

UP 61 — Ja. Gomez de Liano 22, Manzo 9, Akhuetie 7, Rivero 7, Murrell 6, Ju. Gomez de Liano 6, Webb 3, Prado 1, Mantilla 0, Tungcab 0, Spencer 0.

FEU 55 Bienes 9, Gonzales 8, Tchuente 8, Comboy 8, Tuffin 6, Torres 6, Cani 5, Ebona 3, Celzo 2, Alforque 0.

Quarterscores: 20-17, 38-27, 47-44, 61-55.

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