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With almost every player making vital contributions, the Tamaraws barged into the win column yesterday after defeating the tough Adamson Falcons, 75-65, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Ironically, a former Falcon was instrumental in the victory as guard Axel Iñigo, who played for the blue side in 2014, produced 13 points, four rebounds and four assists in 22 minutes even as Richard Escoto and team captain Raymar Jose produced on both ends to help the Tamaraws bounce back from Wednesday’s 83-78 loss to the La Salle Green Archers.
Escoto scored seven of his 13 points in the fourth quarter to deny the Falcons a chance to rally from an 11-point deficit while Jose registered a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Jerrick Ahanmisi had a quiet 19-point performance after erupting for 28 in his debut match against UP in the opener but Adamson was denied of a rare 2-0 start against the tough FEU defense.
“It was a hard win. I think we had a good matchup against Adamson. It’s good to see them play against UP, so we were able to guard their best players,” said FEU coach Nash Racela, whose team hopes to retain the crown even the graduations of Mac Belo, Roger Pogoy, Mike Tolomia, Russell Escoto, Achie Iñigo and Alfrancis Tamsi.
Also Kimlee Bayquin, who was once an Adamson redshirt, had nine points and three rebounds, Monbert Arong had seven points while Nigerian center Prince Orizu joined hands with Jose and Ken Holmqvist in defending Adamson import Papi Sarr with good success.
Sarr had 11 points and seven rebounds but committed four turnovers in 29 minutes of action.
Terrence Mustre added 10 points for Adamson but Rob Mañalang was held to eight points after making 16 against UP.
Ateneo and National University was playing at presstime with the winner tying La Salle for the lead at 2-0.
FEU 75 – Iñigo 13, Escoto 13, Jose 11, Bayquin 9, Arong 7, Holmqvist 5, Orizu 3, Nunag 3, Tuffin 3, Dennison 2, Trinidad 2, Comboy 2, Bienes 0, Ebona 0, Denila 0.
ADAMSON 65– Ahanmisi 19, Sarr 11, Mustre 10, Mañalang 8, Manganti 6, Espeleta 4, Camacho 3, Pasturan 2, Ochea 2, Tungcab 0, Ng 0, Bernardo 0.
Quarters: 13-14; 42-38; 53-45; 75-65.