Figuring in a tight game against a rebuilding squad, the battle-tested Far Eastern University Tamaraws were able to storm back late to take a 68-61 victory over the De La Salle University Green Archers, Sunday afternoon at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
This is Olsen Racela’s first win over the Green Archers since taking over the FEU basketball program last year. Moreover, this is FEU’s first win over La Salle in three years.
And he could not help but reflect on the last time he went to the winner’s podium.
“The last time I was here, ‘di maganda yung resulta,” Racela recalled about Game Three of last season’s UAAP Men’s Basketball semifinals.
Entering this season, Racela had high expectations for his team.
“Maganda na iba yung pakiramdam that we got our first win of the season,” he added.
Graduating forward Arvin Tolentino had a huge imprint in the game.
With 3:26 left and and FEU down by one, Tolentino knocked down the go-ahead triple. It sparked a 7-0 run, with baskets by JR Parker and Hubert Cani to close it out.
Tolentino finished with 13 points off the bench.
“Mahirap talaga kalaban ang La Salle. Last year, tinambakan nila kami. I like our improvement from last year and hopefully tuloy tuloy yun throughout the season,” he added.
Aljun Melecio tried to will the Green Archers late, but steady free throw shooting by the Tamaraws bucked any hopes of a comeback.
Kenneth Tuffin provided timely baskets at all points of the game when La Salle tried to go on a run, finishing with 11 markers. Achie Iñigo added 10 points, six rebounds, and three assists as the Tamaraws had a balanced attack.
Santi Santillan paced La Salle with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Melecio added 10 markers but shot just 33 percent from the field.
Debuting Kiwi student-athlete Taane Samuel struggled in his first-ever UAAP game, tallying just two points and two rebounds in five minutes of game time.
FEU will next face the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers on Wednesday, September 12, at the SMART Araneta Coliseum. La Salle, on the other hand, look to bounce back when they take on the Adamson University Soaring Falcons on Saturday, September 15, at the same venue.
FEU 68 – Tolentino 13, Tuffin 11, Inigo 10, Comboy 9, Stockton 9, Cani 7, Parker 5, Ebona 2, Escoto 2, Orizu 0
DLSU 61 – Santillan 19, Melecio 11, Caracut 9, Baltazar 8, Montalbo 5, Serrano 3, Bates 2, Samuel 2, Manuel 1, Dyke 1, Go 0, Corteza 0, Capacio 0
Quarterscores: 11-14, 25-26, 48-48, 68-61
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