The FEU Tamaraws avoided an epic collapse by coming up with clutch shots in OT to defeat the UP Fighting Maroons. FEU got the big 82-79 win to force a three-way tie at third place with a 4-4 record. UP drops their second straight game, falling to 5-3 for the season.
Five players finished in double-digit scoring for the Tamaraws. Ken Tuffin broke out of his scoring slump to register 18 points for FEU. Not far behind him was LJ Gonzales who had 17 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. Pat Tchuente also had a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds. Xyrus Torres and Wendell Comboy got to double-digit scoring as well. Kobe Paras led UP with 22 points, nine rebounds and six steals.
The Tamaraws seemed like they were in control of the game after a strong third quarter run. From a slim three-point lead, FEU burst out after halftime as their offense started clicking. They strung up 30 points in the third period, shooting 63% from the field, as six players got on the board. They took a lead as high as 19 points before settling for a 17-point spread heading to the final period.
Just as quick as they found their range, the Tamaraws then went cold. They got stuck at 69 points starting the midway point of the third period. UP went on a 16-0 run, capped by a Paras jumper and a Javi Gomez De Liaño steal and layup to tie the score, sending the game to an extra period.
Unfortunately for the Fighting Maroons, they couldn’t capitalize in the next five minutes. Comboy, who missed the game-winning shot in regulation made up for it in OT. He drilled a big three and nailed a tough dagger jumper over the UP defense to keep FEU ahead by three. The Fighting Maroons wouldn’t be able to find the equalizers as time ran out on their comeback run.
In the first game, the La Salle Green Archers built on the momentum of their last win to take home their second straight win, this time over the NU Bulldogs. The Green Archers blasted the Bulldogs 85-61 to get their fourth win in eight games, joining a three-way tie at third. NU stays at the bottom with a 1-7 slate.
Justine Baltazar had a monster game for La Salle. He scored 25 points and 25 rebounds making him just the third player since 2003 to record a 20-20 game. Andrei Caracut scored 16 points and dished out five dimes to help out the Green Archers. Dave Ildefonso led NU with 11 points.
Coming off a one-point win in their First Round encounter, the Green Archers made sure early in the game that the result wouldn’t be in doubt. Baltazar, Caracut and Jaime Malonzo teamed up to score seven points each as La Salle started the run on a 26-6 tear. They were up by 17 at the end of the first period. The Green Archers were in control for much of the game after that.
The Bulldogs tried to mount a comeback in the fourth period, cutting the deficit down to just 13 points. But the Green Archers countered with a 16-4 run, capped off by a shot in the paint by Baltazar. That put their lead up to an insurmountable level as they cruised to the win all the way to the final buzzer.