By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws used a strong finish to avoid a late-game collapse against the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers, 67-62, in the ongoing 2022 UAAP Season 84 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
It was a waxing-hot first half for the Tamaraws as RJ Abarrientos and the rest of the guys shot the lights out to establish a 42-29 lead.
The Tamaraws continued to sink every basket led by the hot hands of Abarrientos and Xyrus Torres who scored 21 and 14, respectively, but the Green Archers refused to back down and spearheaded a massive comeback to cut the deficit to only four, 63-59, with one minute left in the final canto.
“At the half, ‘yun ung sinabi ko sa kanila. We have to play 40 minutes of great basketball to beat La Salle. We played a bad third quarter. Sinabi ko nga sa kanila na it’s not about our offense but our defense,” said FEU head coach Olsen Racela.
De La Salle inched closer after Mark Nonoy drained two of his three free throws when he got fouled at the three-point line.
However, FEU responded with the dagger of the night after L-Jay Gonzales setup a wide-open Patrick Sleat who cashed in the clutch three-pointer.
DLSU’s Michael Phillips had the chance to put his team within striking distance but split his shots from the charity stripe with 7.7 seconds left.
“Luckily nung fourth quarter, we stepped it up defensively and executed on offense, getting the much needed stops and much-needed baskets also. Naswerte rin kami because La Salle didn’t have Winston today so we just took advantage of that opportunity,” added Racela.
The huge win over the Green Archers extended FEU’s winning streak to three games and grabbed the solo fourth spot in the current UAAP standings.