Thursday, 4 August 2011 3,516 Views / 118 Comments
FAR Eastern University hoped that slowing down the game would bother the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons. After playing at that pace in the first half, State U amped things up in the last 20 minutes and ran the clueless Tamaraws off the court, 76-63 in Season 74 of the UAAP last August 4 at the Araneta Coliseum.
“Big fish we caught today,” commented a deadpan UP head coach Ricky Dandan after the game. “We were really all emphasizing that we all know what it takes for us to win but we need to do what it takes to win. So I think our guys today knew what to do and did what it takes to win.”
After a tight first half, UP padded its lead at the onset of the third, with back-to-back baskets by Jelo Montecastro and a fastbreak layup by Alinko Mbah, forcing FEU to a timeout with its deficit at five, 34-29. The quick breather seemed to energize the Tamaraws, triggering an 8-2 run that got them to within a point off an incomplete and-one play by Cris Tolomia, 36-35. UP managed to beat off the rally, though, getting a charity from Julius Wong and a layup by Jett Manuel to cushion the lead to four. A few plays later, Aldrech Ramos scored off an assist from RR Garcia to cut the lead to a triple, 43-40. But the referees ruled afterwards that Jens Knuttel had caused a delay of game for the second time, hitting the graduating point guard with a technical foul. The Maroons maximized the call, canning the two free throws and scoring on the bonus possession to go up 47-40. The run continued into the fourth quarter, with the Fighting Maroons finally brekaing the double-digit barrier on a wide open triple from Xavier School standout Manuel, which created a 56-44 lead with 7:56 to play.
Emboldened by their comeback win against UST, the Tamaraws fought back, with Tolomia, scoring five in an 8-2 run that got them to within seven, 61-54. But the Tamaraws failed to close the gap any further, going scoreless for more than two minutes. Compounding the situation was another technical issued to coach Bert Flores for stepping onto the playing court while arguing a foul. Once again, the Maroons nailed the charities before Mike Silungan dropped a triple that served as the nail in FEU’s coffin, making it 69-56, with 2:11 left on the clock. And when Mark Bringas was tagged with his second unsportsmanlike foul of the game a minute later, the Tams knew this one was going to slip away.
The win by UP snapped a 12-game losing streak to the Tams, who had never lost to State U since a 61-56 defeat on August 28, 2004. To achieve that feat, four Maroons finished in double-figures, led by Manuel’s 20 points, who shot 5-of-8 from the field and an impressive 9-of-11 at the line. “He’s emerging,” said Dandan of Manuel, “That makes our team better, because that spot becomes a little deeper. The emergence of Jett gives us extra firepower outside of Mike Silungan.”
SIlungan added 16 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, a block and a steal, while College of St. Benilde transferee Montecastro and Mbah added 14 each and a combined 13 rebounds.
FEU was led by last season’s MVP Garcia, who had a frustrating outing while being shadowed by Mike Gamboa. Though he finished with 17 points, UP’s defense forced him into 18 attempts, and he had just two assists to four turnovers. Ramos added a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds, while the hero against UST, Tolomia, scored 12. The Tams played without JR Cawaling, who was dressed but did not play, as the coaching staff held him out as a precaution due to a knee injury he suffered in the Growling Tigers game.
UP was able to net 14 fastbreak points to build and then pad their lead as against four by FEU in that category. The Maroons were also able to double FEU’s number of assists, 20-10, and control the glass, 42-38. As Dandan pointed out, “for the first time, we outrebounded somebody and actually won it [the game].”
The now 2-3 UP Fighting Maroons face the UST Growling Tigers next, on Sunday, August 7. The second game on that date is a rematch of last season’s Finals, with the FEU Tamaraws pitting their 4-2 record against the Ateneo Blue Eagles. Cawaling remains questionable for that game, and Bringas will likely serve a one-game suspension for being ejected.
UP 76 – Manuel 20, Silungan 16, Montecastro 14, Mbah 14, Gamboa 3, Romero 2, Maniego 2, Juruena 2, GIngerich 2, Wong 1, Wierzba 0, Pascual 0, Evangelista 0
FEU 63 – Garcia 17, Ramos 13, Tolomia 12, Bringas 8, Romeo 6, Escoto 2, Knuttel 2, Exciminiano 2, Cruz 1, Sentcheu 0, Pogoy 0, Fabian 0, Foronda 0
Quarter scoring: 12-12, 28-25, 51-42, 76-63