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UAAP: Tams foil Ateneo

Ateneo’s Tyler Tio (right) appears to volley the ball as FEU’s Jasper Parker tries to steal during UAAP semifinal action at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Ateneo’s Tyler Tio (right) appears to volley the ball as FEU’s Jasper Parker tries to steal during UAAP semifinal action at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Force do-or-die match for right to face Archers

By JEROME LAGUNZAD

Game Wednesday (Mall of Asia Arena)
4 p.m. – FEU vs Ateneo

Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin knew the Eagles would be in for a tough fight against Far Eastern University, but he surely did not expect the match to end without a fight.

The Tamaraws dominated the second half to score an 80-67 win over the Eagles at the Smart Araneta Coliseum that forced a do-or-die match for the right to face La Salle in the best-of-three finals.

The knockout match will be held on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

FEU coach Olsen Racela was quick to dismiss the victory.

“We haven’t done anything yet,” he said in the post-game interview, with players Ron Dennison, Hubert Cani and Arvin Tolentino seating beside him.

“Ang nagawa lang namin is to take away the twice-to-beat advantage of Ateneo. We’ll go through video and take a look kung saan pa kami pwedeng mag-improve. We’re looking forward to Wednesday’s game and see what we can do to try to stop a really strong team like Ateneo.”

Dennison banged in 10 of his team-high 17 points in the second half while fellow veteran Richard Escoto provided the needed energy on the defensive end.

A balanced offensive attack and sustained defensive pressure by the Tamaraws prevented the Eagles from getting back into the game.

Ateneo led, 6-2, and managed to tie the contest at 38-all, but failed to keep the game close toward the end.

The closest it got was seven points off Thirdy Ravena’s completed three-point play, but Cani capped a 14-4 run with a buzzer-beating three-point shot from 30 feet to give FEU its biggest lead at 75-58 with less than three minutes to play.

For a while, the Eagles looked ready to take control after erasing a nine-point lead at the start of the second half, but Dennison poured eight of the Tamaraws’ 14-2 run to cool off the Eagles.

“We were really confident going into the fourth quarter, that we will finish strong. ‘Yun ang sinabi ko sa kanila, we have to start strong, sustain the momentum, and finish strong,” said Racela, who got nine points, seven rebounds and two assists from Escoto, one of the remnants of FEU’s championship winning team in 2015.

The Tamaraws shot 49.21 percent from the field as opposed to the Eagles’ 31.25 percent.

Ravena led Ateneo with 17 points while four teammates scored at least nine points but the Eagles shot poorly from the field, making only 26 of 71 attempts, including 10-of-32 from beyond the arc.

In contrast, the Tamaraws shot 49.21 percent.

Scores:
FEU 80 – Dennison 17, Tolentino 13, Cani 11, Orizu 10, Escoto 9, Inigo 8, Trinidad 5, Parker 4, Ebona 3, Comboy 0, Bayquin 0, Ramirez 0, Stockton 0, Tuffin 0.

ATENEO 67 – Ravena 17, Nieto Mi 13, Nieto Ma 11, Go 9, Tolentino 5, Mendoza 4, Asistio 3, Tio 3, Verano 2, Ikeh 0, Black 0, Mamuyac 0, Mallillin 0.

Quarters: 21-15, 38-35, 59-48, 80-67.

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