The University of the East Warriors had a major upset in within their grasps, leading season-favorites Far Eastern University Tamaraws by 12, 71-59, heading into the fourth period. The Tamaraws then rode their usual late-game scoring burst to bury UE. FEU outscored their Recto neighbors 33-10 in the final quarter with star Tamaraw, Mac Belo pouring in 12 of his 24 points in the quarter alone.
With his team relying mostly on his vaunted defensive scheme to stop opponents, UE head coach Derrick Pumaren lamented on what his team could have achieved had they stuck to the game plan.
“We have to compete for 40 minutes – we stopped competing in the last six minutes. We ran away from what we were doing. We became tentative [and it really cost us,” Pumaren told Tiebreaker Times after the game.
The Warriors had FEU right where they wanted them especially in the first half. UE’s non-stop press coaxed FEU into 17 first half turnovers – resulting in an 11-point lead and a blistering field goal percentage for the boys in red. They rode their momentum all the way into the third quarter with first year guard, Bon Batiller leading the charge with his 18 points up to that point.
But then, Francis Tamsi swarmed the rookie. FEU’s fearless Cebuano latched onto Batiller and held him scoreless in the pivotal period, severely hampering UE’s offense. Batiller had FEU’s defense on a string in the previous quarters but Tamsi’s tough defense and sharp tounge forced Batiller out of his game. Late into the fourth period, Tamsi snatched the ball from Bonbon then drove down court for a layup. Batiller then crashed into the play, collided with Tamsi mid-air and was tagged with a flagrant foul. Batiller later fouled out.
When asked if Tamsi’s defense bothered him, Batiller shrugged off the notion. “Nahirapan lang po talaga kaming lahat nung fourth quarter sa depensa nila. Mahirap po talaga talunin ang FEU kapag naipapasok na na nila ‘yung mga tres nila.”
“My team’s still pretty young. There are things we need to learn and work on like finishing down the stretch of games like this,” Pumaren closed citing that he played an incredibly young lineup in the fourth period.
The UE Warriors dropped down to a 2-3 record with the loss and will face the DLSU Archers on Sunday, September 27 at 2:00pm.
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