FAR Eastern University (FEU) displayed toughness to stun reigning champion De La Salle University, 82-77, on Saturday in the opening day of University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 77 men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.
FEU’s Mike Tolomia posted 20 of his 23 points in the second half along with five assists, while center Mark Belo added 20 points, Russel Escoto 13 and Carl Cruz 11.
“We were overpowered, outmanned but our team defense worked,” said FEU coach Nash Racela.
Struggling at 23-10 by the end of first quarter, the Tamaraws fought back in the second quarter as they established lead over the Green Archers, 23-14, and narrowing the gap at halftime, 33-37.
FEU sustained its impressive play characterized by tight defense to grab the team’s first win.
Host University of the East (UE), meanwhile, gave head coach Derrick Pumaren a delightful debut by routing University of the Philippines (UP) in the first game, 87-59.
The UE Red Warriors, under the new system of new head coach Derrick Pumaren, showed their prowess in the three-point zone in second quarter transforming a 19-16 first quarter advantage to 45-26 at halftime.
“We wanted to win in our first day and we really came out strong today,” Pumaren told reporters during the post-game interview.
Rookie Moustaph Arafat’s alley-oop dunk off Roi Sumang’s assist provided the Red Warriors a comfortable 64-33 advantage en route to victory.
Shooting guard Dan Alberto nailed five triples for 15 points, while Chris Javier contributed 12 points plus nine rebounds. Ronnie De Leon and Gino Jumao-As contributed 10 points apiece.
UE won the inside scoring 54-28 and rebounding 58-29.
Today (Sunday), Adamson University’s new head coach Kenneth Duremdes will have his coaching debut when the Falcons meet the Ateneo De Manila Blue Eagles in the first game at 2 p.m. while National University battles University of Santo Tomas at 4 p.m.