Defending champion Far Eastern University (FEU) posted a 78-75 win over National University (NU) on Wednesday for its fifth victory in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Monbert Arong scored 14 of his 20 points in the second quarter while Wendelino Comboy finished with 14 points, four rebounds and four assists to help the Tamaraws grab solo second with a win-loss record of 5-2.
“We are within our target,” FEU coach Nash Racela told reporters during the post game interview. “This is still the first round and we still have seven more games after the first round. It doesn’t mean anything yet. It is still a long way to go.”
Playmaker Axel Iñigo and Richard Escoto posted 12 and 10 points, respectively, while center Prince Orizu contributed seven points and nine rebounds also for FEU.
Guard Rodolfo Alejandro led the Bulldogs with 31 points on 12-of-18 shooting along with nine rebounds and two assists while the 6’8 center Alfred Aroga had 14 points and 14 rebounds.
The Bulldogs’ win-loss record fell to 4-3.
The Tamaraws controlled the first three quarters before the Bulldogs recovered in the fourth period with a blitzing run. But the collective effort of Arong and Iñigo in the last two-minute mark saved them from defeat.
Meanwhile, Adamson University halted University of Santo Tomas (UST), 79-52, to end their first round campaign on a high note with a 4-3 win-loss record. The Falcons snapped a two-game losing skid and surpassed their three-win output last year.
“I think this is a good springboard for us going into the second round,” Adamson coach Franz Pumaren told reporters during the postgame interview. “After the game against UE, I was really hard on them. I was expecting that we’d bounce back.”
Cameroonian Papi Sarr finished with 16 points, 25 rebounds, two steals and four blocks, while Nicholas Paranada contributed 14 points and four steals to lead the Falcons. Rookie Jerrick Ahanmisi had 11 points and Robbie Manalang 10 points and seven assists also for Adamson.
“From the start, we’re able to establish ourselves, we’re able to set the tempo and we really made it difficult for them (UST),” added Pumaren. “I recruited Paranada from San Diego, California because he has all the potential, all the makings of a very good player.”
After losing to the University of the East Red Warriors, 57-64, on Sunday, the Falcons made sure there would be no end-game collapse this time.
The Falcons took a slim 22-19 lead in the first quarter, which ballooned to 33-29 at halftime. Adamson sustained its attack on the Growling Tigers in the second half with a 26-8 run resulting in a hefty 59-37 lead at the start of the payoff period.
Adamson completely dominated the fourth quarter foiling all of UST’s attempts for a comeback.
The Growling Tigers’ win-loss record dropped to 2-5 after a three-game losing skid.
Kent Lao posted 13 points and Dean Lee had 10 to lead UST.