Far Eastern University (FEU) relied on a strong fourth quarter performance to pull-off a 66-61 win over Ateneo De Manila University on Sunday and bag a sixth game winning streak in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 78 men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.
After a close first three quarters, the Tamaraws of coach Nash Racela used a blistering fourth quarter rally courtesy of forward Mac Belo, guard Archie Inigo and Alfrancis Tamchi to secure them the No. 1 spot at the start of their second round campaign with a 7-1 win-loss record.
“We committed a lot of fouls early in the first half and we struggled defensively,” Racela told reporters during a post game interview. “But I’m really thankful that the other guys have stepped in. We should not be satisfied with where we are at right now. We should focus more on how to improve.”
Belo, who scored 12 points along with five rebounds and two assists, hit a jumper in the last 3:16 to put the Tamaraws at 59-56 advantage and they answered every baskets of the Blue Eagles in the crucial stretch of the last period to keep the lead.
Russel Escoto added 10 points and six rebounds, while Roger Pogoy had also 10 points and Mike Tolomia contributed eight points for FEU.
The Blue Eagles, likewise their previous losses, just failed to close out the game and suffer their fourth loss after eight games.
Reigning Most Valuable Player Kiefer Ravena sizzled 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter to go along with five rebounds and three assists to lead Ateneo. Despite his superb effort, Ravena could not convert most important baskets in crunch time.
He was guarded tightly by Belo’s pressure defense late in the game.
Adrian Wong added 14 points also for the Blue Eagles of coach Bo Perasol.
In the second game, University of Santo Tomas (UST) recovered from a small deficit to outlast De La Salle University 81-79 to gain a share of the lead with FEU.
The Growing Tigers are now tied with the Tamaraws on top with identical 7-1 win-loss record.
Cameroonian Karim Abdul tallied 18 points plus 11 rebounds and three blocks, while forward Ed Daquioag made 17 points and Kevin Ferrer added 15 points along with 11 rebounds for the Growling Tigers.
Marvin Lee and Louie Vigil had 13 points apiece also for UST.
Jeron Teng led La Salle with 16 points along with eight rebounds and six assists.
The Green Archers though dropped to 4-4 win-loss record.