Defending champion Far Eastern University (FEU) survived University of the Philippines (UP), 51-49, for its third victory in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 men’s basketball tournament on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Monbert Arong, who registered 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting in the field plus four rebounds, had a split free throw and then hit the crucial fade away jumper over defender Jarell Lim to provide the Tamaraws a 50-47 cushion with only 14 ticks left in the game.
UP’s Javier Gomez Deliano trimmed the gap to only 49-50 after a follow up shot with 6.9 ticks to go. The Fighting Maroons intentionally fouled Allen Trinidad in the ensuing play sending him to the foul line.
Trinidad, who scored seven points and two rebounds, made one of his two free throws to provide FEU a two-point lead. UP’s Dave Moralde’s running jumper at the buzzer was too short allowing the Tamaraws to escape with the win.
“We expected an up and down season for us,” FEU coach Nash Racela told reporters during the post game interview. “We struggled because we knew all along that this game will really be difficult especially with UP coming off a win. We are still learning at this point.”
The victory also allowed FEU to tie Adamson University in the second spot with identical 3-2 win-loss record.
FEU’s Ron Dennison was slapped with a disqualifying foul with 2:48 left in the fourth period after allegedly hitting Andres Desiderio in the stomach. Dennison denied that he intentionally hit the Fighting Maroons player after the game.
Dennison may face a one-game suspension due to the disqualifying foul.
The Fighting Maroons, who scored their first win over the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors last Wednesday, suffered their fourth loss in five games. Desiderio notched 15 points while Christian Moralde added 13 points and 11 rebounds to lead UP.
After a 4-5 lead by UP at the end of first quarter, FEU slowly took the lead in the next quarter by outscoring the Fighting Maroons in the second period via 16-10 assault to establish a 20-15 halftime advantage.
The Tamaraws ended the third quarter ahead 38-30 before the Fighting Maroons turned it to an interesting game in the pivotal fourth quarter.
In the second game, National University blasted University of Santo Tomas (UST), 75-68, to force a four-way tie for second with 3-2.
UST dropped to 2-3.