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UAAP: Tamaraws shock Eagles

by Waylon Galvez

Games Saturday (Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City)
2 p.m. – UE vs NU
4 p.m. – Adamson vs La Salle

Tyer Tio of Ateneo defended by Alec Stockton and Alejandrino Inigo of FEU. (MB photo | Kevin Espiritu)

Tyer Tio of Ateneo defended by Alec Stockton and Alejandrino Inigo of FEU. (MB photo | Kevin Espiritu)

Far Eastern University came through with another big win as the Tamaraws fought back to beat the defending champion Ateneo Blue Eagles, 63-60, last night in the UAAP men’s basketball at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.

After trailing in the first half, FEU rallied back in the third behind JR Parker and Axek Inigo, and then relied in the final stretch on the big plays of guards Hubert Cani and Ino Comboy, and forward Richard Escoto, whose basket gave the Tamaraws the lead for good, 63-58, 29.1 seconds to play.

The win improved FEU’s record to 5-2, tied with Ateneo as the latter’s win streak ended at five games after losing its first game to Adamson University.

It was also the Tamaraws’ third straight win and second in four days after it dealt the Falcons their first defeat – an 88-85 overtime win – following a perfect 5-0 start. The setback of Ateneo put Adamson back on top with a 5-1 card.

FEU coach Olsen Racela, whose team lost to Ateneo in the Final Four last season, commended his players for the effort they gave despite their tight schedule this past two weeks.

“Well, I myself, I don’t know how we did it,” said Racela in Filipino. “If you noticed, we have a very tough schedule, and we’ll play on Sunday (versus UST). We played five games in two weeks.”

“To add to that, we played back-to-back games versus Adamson and Ateneo… and we played without our top scorer (Arvin Tolentino). So I really don’t know how we did it.”

Meantime, University of Santo Tomas showed the kind of fight that hopes to inspire center Steve Akomo as the Tigers routed the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, 86-72.

A day after news broke out that Akomo – the team’s 6-foot-9 center – has been diagnosed with blood clots on his cerebellum, UST jumped the gun early to take a 31-16 advantage.

They were never in trouble after that to improve 3-4 – the same win-loss mark of the Maroons.