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Parker sparkles for Tamaraws

By Jerome Lagunzad

Games Saturday
(Smart-Araneta Coliseum)
2 p.m. – La Salle vs UST
4 p.m. – NU vs Ateneo

This time, it was Fil-Am guard Jasper Parker’s turn to shine for host Far Eastern University.

The gutsy 5-foot-10 guard came through with clutch plays in the stretch yesterday as the Tamaraws turned back the National University Bulldogs, 90-83, for their second straight victory in the UAAP Season 80 basketball tournament at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

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Parker, a transferee from Southwestern University, tallied six points in their decisive 8-2 run midway in the final canto before fellow new Tamaraw Arvin Tolentino preserved his game-long brilliance with a runner in the closing minute to hold off the Bulldogs’ fightback.

The wire-to-wire victory came on the heels of a 78-65 win over University of Santo Tomas over the weekend and jacked up FEU’s mark to 3-2.

NU, meanwhile, suffered its second straight loss and dropped to a 2-3 slate.

“Compared to our past games, we played more consistently,” admitted Tamaraws coach Olsen Racela, whose wards got off to a strong start, led by as many as 15 points in the third period and did enough to hold off the Bulldogs’ late push.

The 6-foot-5 Tolentino, a former Rookie of the Year awardee who initially suited up for Ateneo, continued his fine form with a career-best of 23 points, including a crucial bucket over the outstretched arms of NU defenders Nico Abatayo and Senagelese import Issa Gaye that restored FEU’s lead back to seven at 88-81 with 68 seconds to play.

But the steady presence of Parker, who played the entire fourth quarter in lieu of starting guard Axel Iñigo, also left Racela pleased no end.

“He played well today so he deserved to finish the game,” he said of the proud Fullerton, California native who finished with nine points, five rebounds and three assists in 22 minutes of play off the bench.

First Game
FEU 90 – Tolentino 23, Iñigo 12, Ebona 10, Comboy 9, Parker 9, Tuffin 7, Dennison 6, Orizu 6, Cani 5, Escoto 3, Ramirez 0.

NU 83 – Alejandro 23, Aquino 13, Gaye 8, Yu 7, Morido 7, Salem 6, Mosqueda 6, Bartlett 4, Lastimosa 3, Joson 2, Abatayo 2, Rangel 2, Tibayan 0, Diputado 0, Flores 0, Cauilan 0.

Quarters: 22-15, 48-41, 76-68, 90-83.