Far Eastern University's offense clicked just in the nick of time as the Tamaraws were able to overwhelm the UST Growling Tigers, 72-58, Sunday at the SM MOA Arena.
L-Jay Gonzales put up 17 points, tying his career-high, and grabbed six rebounds while Royce Alforque fired a personal-best 16 points, missing just one shot in eight tries. A surprise production from Brandrey Bienes also proved critical as he knocked down all of his 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
"It was a hard-fought win from the opening buzzer till the final buzzer," said FEU coach Olsen Racela.
The Tamaraws caught fire late in the pivotal fourth period, anchored by cold-blooded shots from beyond the arc just as the Tigers were right on their heels. UST stared at a two-point deficit after Mark Nonoy hit a stop-and-pop trey with six and a half minutes to play.
The 3-point onslaught from FEU was kicked off by back-to-back long bombs from Xyrus Torres and Wendell Comboy. UST countered with a shot from Renzo Subido, making the score 59-53, with a little over three minutes remaining. Tamaraws had an even better answer, going on a quick scoring spurt highlighted by three 3-pointers from Bienes.
Brent Paraiso led the fight for UST with 12 points followed by Rhenz Abando and Zach Huang who had 11 points apiece.
Coach Racela was pleased with the win but admitted that what's missing from his team is a little more consistency especially since they were coming off a loss against the NU Bulldogs, who are currently at the bottom of the standings.
"I'm just trying to understand my team more. We need more consistency. We've proven that we can compete against the top teams. We're hoping that we can do that on a consistent basis," said Racela. "Every win counts in the second round. For us, every game is a do-or-die game. We treated this game like that, and they responded."
With FEU's win, they rose to 5-5 in the standings for third place, followed by UST which has a similar record.
FEU 72 -- Gonzales 17, Alforque 16, Stockton 10, Bienes 9, Comboy 7, Torres 5, Cani 4, Tuffin 3, Tchuente 1, Ebona 0, Mantua 0.
UST 58 -- Paraiso 12, Abando 11, Huang 11, Chabi Yo 7, Nonoy 6, Cansino 5, Subido 4, Concepcion 2, Ando 0, Bataller 0, Bordeos 0, Cosejo 0, Cuajao 0.
Quarters: 14-10, 26-23, 45-39, 72-58.
FEU notched its first win against an Aldin Ayo coached team after seven games.
The win by FEU also allowed the Ateneo Blue Eagles to nab a twice-to-beat advantage for the Final Four.
The Tigers only shot 29.33 percent from the field, including 9-for-42 from beyond the arc.
FEU - October 16 vs Ateneo at MOA Arena
UST - October 16 vs UP at MOA Arena