Xyrus Torres stood at the forefront as Far Eastern University weathered a late storm brought by Ateneo de Manila University, winning 60-54 for their third consecutive victory in the 2023 Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup on Friday in San Juan.
Torres scored nine of his 14 points in the last eight minutes to ensure that the Tamaraws stayed within striking distance for the quarterfinals.
Cholo Anonuevo also contributed with 12 points, five rebounds, and three assists as they improved to 4-3, securing solo fifth place in Group II.
“Sinasabi ko lang sa kanila lagi is to play tough defense. Kaya kami nanalo, dahil sa defense e; na kahit ‘di kami maka-execute sa offense, nandun yung effort sa depensa,” said head coach Denok Miranda.
Apart from Torres, no other FEU player scored in the last eight minutes, except for Patrick Sleat, whose breakaway layup with 5.8 seconds left sealed the deal. However, their defense remained strong and forced five turnovers and four misses by the Blue Eagles in the same timeframe.
“Happy na happy ako sa mga boys. They accepted the challenge. Alam naman ng mga ‘tong medyo hard ako sa mga practice namin, pero eto, parang mini-success na rin para sa’min,” said Miranda.
On the other hand, Ateneo remained winless in four outings, with Kai Ballungay being their lone player in double-digits, scoring 13 points along with nine rebounds and two assists.
Lyceum of the Philippines University extended its winning streak to five with a smooth-sailing 81-67 triumph over San Beda University.
The Pirates used a 35-point third quarter to pull away from the Red Lions, securing solo second place in Group I of the premier preseason tournament supported by Filoil, EcoOil, Hanes, Akari, Reyes BBQ, BDO, Kalos Sportswear, and Molten.
John Barba led the pivotal period and finished with 22 points, while Enoch Valdez contributed 15 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
“Halftime, chinallege ko lang sila kasi mas aggressive ang kalaban namin nung simula,” said head coach Gilbert Malabanan.
LPU (6-2) can secure a spot in the next round with a win on Monday against College of St. Benilde (5-2), which is in a three-team logjam with Mapua University and Colegio de San Juan de Letran at the third and fourth spots.
“Happy kami kung nasaan kami ngayon kasi siyempre, dito sa preseason namin makikita kung gaano na kami kalayo,” said Malabanan.
San Beda, on the other hand, is eliminated with their fifth loss in eight tries. James Payosing led their team with 12 points.
Kevin Santos saved the day for Letran as they rallied by Emilio Aguinaldo College, 68-66.
Inserted into the game with the score tied at 66-all and only 4.9 seconds remaining, Santos cleaned up the mess from Kurt Reyson’s high-looping scoop shot to provide the game-winner for the now-5-2 Knights. Those were his only points, along with six rebounds.
“Actually, I give credit sa mga assistant coaches ko kasi sa kanila yung suggestion na ipasok si Santos. Na-visualize nila yung nangyari at naging effective naman,” said head coach Rensy Bajar after they remained alive and kicking for a quarterfinal berth in Group I.
Letran wouldn’t have come back from a 16-point deficit if not for Pao Javillonar’s 15-point, 10-rebound double-double, as well as Nicko Fajardo’s 13 points, four assists, and three rebounds.
For the Generals, Nat Cosejo put forth a strong showing of 22 points and six rebounds only to see his side lose their third in a row and fifth overall out of seven games.
National University barged back into the win column courtesy of a 45-point beatdown on Centro Escolar University, 105-60.
Kean Baclaan pumped in 16 points, two assists, and two rebounds, including eight straight points in a 19-8 burst that blew the game wide open from a 7-all deadlock to a 26-15 edge for the Bulldogs late in the first quarter.
Their lead would only keep growing, as they recovered from a loss to the University of the Philippines the last time around and rose to 4-2 in Group II.
“Last time, nag-viewing kami agad ng something to improve on. Yun yung talagang inayos namin kaya buti naman, na-apply namin ngayon,” said head coach Jeff Napa.
Mark Anagbogu paced the Scorpions with 16 points, even as they absorbed their sixth loss in a row following a tourney-opening win.
Letran 68 – Javillonar 15, Fajardo 13, Reyson 12, Cuajao 10, Go 4, Bojorcelo 4, Tolentino 2, Santos 2, Alarcon 2, Ariar 2, Morales 2, Nunag 0
EAC 66 – Cosejo 22, Luciano 10, Maguliano 9, Robin 7, Gurtiza 5, Cosa 5, Balowa 4, Ochavo 3, Angeles 1, Umpad 0, Dominguez 0, Bacud 0
Quarterscores: 15-17, 25-34, 41-49, 68-66
NU 105 – Baclaan 16, Clemente 16, Padrones 10, Enriquez 9, Gulapa 9, Malonzo 9, Figueroa 9, Manansala 8, Abiera 6, Palacielo 4, John 2, Yu 2, Lim 2, Parks 1
CEU 60 – Anagbogu 16, Ferrer 7, Tolentino 6, Santos 6, Puray 5, Balogun 4, Malicana 4, Javier 4, Reyes 4, Penano 2, Cabotaje 2, Dela Cruz 0, Borromeo 0, Diaz 0, Bernabe 0
Quarterscores: 26-17, 48-30, 77-43, 105-60
Lyceum 81 – Barba 22, Valdez 15, Montano 11, Omandac 10, Cunanan 9, Alattica 5, Umali 4, Villegas 2, Aviles 2, Penafiel 1, Guadana 0, Versoza 0
San Beda 67 – Payosing 12, Tagle 10, Sajonia 9, Andrada 9, Cortez 8, Visser 6, Etulle 4, Royo 3, Puno 3, Dimaculangan 3, Tagala 0
Quarterscores: 22-13, 36-34, 71-58, 81-67
FEU 60 – Torres 14, Anonuevo 12, Montemayor 8, Sleat 7, Pasaol 6, Ona 6, Bagunu 4, Songcuya 3, Faty 0, Macapagal 0, Buenaventura 0
Ateneo 54 – Bongo 13, Obasa 8, Credo 6, Bongo 6, Espinosa 5, Quitevis 5, Chiu 4, Lazaro 4, Nieto 3, Garcia 0, Brown 0
Quarterscores: 16-15, 30-23, 45-42, 60-54