The FEU Tamaraws stayed in the hunt for a Final Four slot after completing an 82-56 rout of the Adamson Falcons in the last elimination round game of UAAP Season 81 Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
FEU finished with an 8-6 record to force a knockout battle against the De La Salle Green Archers for fourth place. The winner will face the top-seeded Ateneo Blue Eagles in the semifinals.
Without the Falcon's best players in Sean Manganti and Jerrick Ahanmisi, the Tamaraws took full control of the match. They raced to a 14-0 start and built as high as a 34-point lead in the third period.
"We're finally getting the breaks in the second round. This game is huge, with them missing Ahanmisi and Manganti. But we still have one game to play to make it to the Final Four," said head coach Olsen Racela.
FEU used the opportunity to give playing time to all its players. Wendell Comboy topped with 11 points, four rebounds, and two steals in 15 minutes, while Arvin Tolentino and Hubert Cani contributed 10 points apiece.
The Tamaraws suffered a four-game losing skid in the second round before gaining ground in the latter part. The wins came just in time to give them a chance to advance to the next stage. "If we took care of business earlier on, we'll be in a better position," said Racela. "But now, we have an opportunity. We have one more game and we were given a blessing."
Jerom Lastimosa stepped up for Adamson with 11 points, four rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
Even prior to this game, the Falcons (10-4) already locked the second spot and the twice-to-beat Final Four advantage over the third-seeded UP Fighting Maroons (8-6).
FEU 82 - Comboy 11, Tolentino 10, Cani 10, Stockton 8, Parker 7, Tuffin 7, Ebona 6, Inigo 4, Orizu 3, Bienes 3, Gonzales 3, Ramirez 3, Nunag 3, Escoto 2, Jopia 2, Bayquin 0
ADAMSON 56 - Lastimosa 11, Espeleta 8, Bernardo 8, Sarr 6, Camacho 6, Catapusan 4, Zaldivar 4, Colonia 2, Pingoy 2, Macion 2, Magbuhos V 1, Magbuhos W 1, Maata 1, Mojica 0
QUARTER SCORES: 21-8, 46-22, 70-40, 82-56
-- Sean Manganti and Jerrick Ahanmisi missed the game due to minor injuries.
-- The Tamaraws knocked down 12-of-19 three-point attempts, while the Falcons only hit one triple.
FEU - Playoff for 4th seed vs La Salle Green Archers on November 21 (Wed) at Smart-Araneta Coliseum
ADU - Final Four Game 1 vs UP Fighting Maroons on November 24 (Sat) at Mall of Asia Arena