Far Eastern University (FEU) guns for solo lead when it takes on University of the East (UE) today in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 78 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Tamaraws-Red Warriors game is set at 2 p.m. while defending champion National University (NU) will be battling winless Adamson University at 4 p.m.
FEU, Ateneo de Manila University and University of Santo Tomas are in a three-way tie on top with 3-1 each while UE, De La Salle University and University of the Philippines are in their own three-way tie at No. 3 with 2-2 each. NU is in seventh (1-3) and Adamson at the bottom of the standings with four losses.
The Tamaraws are in high spirits after scoring back-to-back wins against La Salle (95-73) and UP (75-58) with an average winning margin of 19.5 points.
Against UP, four FEU players scored in double digits led by Raymar Jose, who posted 11 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and veteran Mike Tolomia, who submitted 11 points, five boards and three assists.
Alejandrino Inigo and Roger Pogoy contributed 10 points each. They actually committed 23 turnovers against UP’s nine but still able to win the game.
“Right now, we are focusing on how to limit our turnovers. That’s our problem, we have too many turnovers,” said FEU head coach Nash Racela.
The Red Warriors, on the other hand, want to bounce back from their 72-77 loss to the Blue Eagles last Sunday.
Rookie Edison Batiller played like a veteran in their previous games, averaging 21 points, 3.67 assists and four steals per game.
“Nagpapasalamat ako kay coach [Derrick Pumaren] sa tiwalang ibinibigay niya sa akin. Sa practice araw-araw, ibinibigay ko talaga ang best ko kaya pagdating sa laro parang madali na lang,” said Batiller, a General Santo City native.
Besides Batiller, fifth-year player Chris Javier will also play vital role along with Edgar Charcos and Paul Varilla, who combined for 23 points when UE shocked NU last week (76-71).
Meanwhile, Adamson will be playing without its head coach Mike Fermin.
The Soaring Falcons mentor was slapped with one-game suspension by UAAP Commissioner Rebo Saguisag following the former’s ejection last Sunday when Adamson succumbed to La Salle, 71-88. EMIL C. NOGUERA
Games Wednesday (MOA Arena)
2 p.m. FEU vs UE
4 p.m. NU vs Adamson