By: Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
After leading by as much as 19 points, the FEU Tamaraws survived a fierce late rally from the UP Fighting Maroons after sending the game to overtime.
Handing the Fighting Maroons their second consecutive loss, 82-79, the Tamaraws relied on the hot shooting of Wendell Comboy and Ken Tuffin.
Tuffin and Comboy combined for 28 points, torching the Fighting Maroons as they sank every three-pointer they attempted.
The Tamaraws gave UP a hard time in the first three quarters as they looked to control every facet of the game, containing reigning MVP Bright Akhuetie and dominating the boards.
Kobe Paras was the lone bright spot as he forced his way to the cup at will. Paras was fearless on his dribble drives to score a game-high 22 points.
Just as the Tamaraws were starting to get comfortable with their lead, the resilient and veteran UP team made a massive rally in the fourth with under six minutes left, leaving the FEU crowd on their heels.
With valiant efforts from the de Liaño brothers, Paras, and Akhuetie, they were able to cut the lead and send the game into overtime.
A steal from UP led to a Javi GDL break-away lay-up that deadlocked the game.
However, during the OT period, it was all FEU, as Comboy, Tuffin, and Ljay Gonzales ran over the UP team, spoiling their attempt at a comeback.
It was UP’s first game without their head coach Bo Perasol, who is suspended three games due to his misbehavior in their showdown against Ateneo.