Coming off a four-game losing slide, the FEU Tamaraws vented their frustrations on the skidding UE Red Warriors, 80-61, to earn their first victory in the second round of UAAP Season 81 Sunday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
The Tamaraws avenged their lopsided 65-90 loss to the Red Warriors in their first-round encounter last month. This allowed them to re-enter the top tier of the standings, forging a tie with UP at fourth place with a 6-6 record.
"Well for us, it's a new lease on life," FEU coach Olsen Racela said. "This is our first win in the second round. We're hoping to win the next game and then another one to keep our hopes alive."
Arvin Tolentino heated up from downtown, nailing four triples en route to 18 points. Kenneth Tuffin also waxed hot with a career-high 17 points, thanks to a 5-for-8 clip from three-point land. Barkley Eboña, meanwhile, finished with a double-double of 12 points and 15 boards.
The Tamaraws jumped to a 14-3 edge before dominating the entire first half and building a 41-26 edge at the break. They preserved their lead even after Alvin Pasaol's 16-point explosion in the third frame.
The Red Warriors managed to cut their deficit to ten but FEU re-asserted its dominance in the final frame. Behind the combined efforts of Tuffin and Eboña, the gap rose to as high as 25 points in the closing stretch.
This win meant a huge deal for the Tamaraws whose nightmare slump put their playoff hopes in serious danger.
"There were doubts. Anytime you go through a losing streak, there will be doubts. But I just have to give it to the boys, they remained positive all throughout the losing streak," said Racela.
Pasaol's 24-point and 12-rebound outing went for naught as UE suffered its seventh consecutive loss for a 1-11 slate.
FEU 80 - Tolentino 18, Tuffin 17, Ebona 12, Bienes 9, Escoto 6, Inigo 6, Gonzales 3, Nunag 3, Parker 2, Stockton 2, Comboy 2, Ramirez 0, Cani 0, Jopia 0
UE 61 - Pasaol 24, Manalang 6, Varilla 6, Cullar 6, Maloles 4, Bartolome 3, Antiporda 3, Gallardo 3, Sobrevega 3, Gagate 2, Conner 1, Beltran 0, Acuno 0
QUARTER SCORES: 21-13, 41-26, 63-49, 80-61
- FEU's 15-for-30 shooting percentage from beyond the arc is the highest for any team this season with a minimum of 15 three-point attempts.
- The Tamaraws assisted on 22 of their 27 made field goals. Jasper Parker led the passing department with six dimes, while LJ Gonzales, Alec Stockton, and Wendell Comboy had three apiece.
UE - November 10 (Sat) vs Adamson Falcons at Smart-Araneta Coliseum
FEU - November 11 (Sun) vs NU Bulldogs at Smart-Araneta Coliseum