FAR Eastern University staved off an Arellano fightback, 81-79, on Wednesday for its second win in the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup at The Arena in San Juan.
The Tamaraws improved to 2-2 (win-loss) in Group A after handing the Chiefs their first loss in five games, leaving National University (6-0) and De La Salle (3-0) as the only undefeated teams in the tournament.
Mike Tolomia got the Tamaraws back in the game with a triple for a 76-76 tie before RR Garcia and Gryann Mendoza connected down the stretch to keep FEU's head above water.
FEU won despite John Pinto’s explosion, which gave Arellano the momentary lead in the fourth.
“The important thing for us is winning as a unit,” said FEU coach Nash Racela. “’Yung mga ganung games, makakatulong sa amin sa UAAP. It will make us a much better team.”
FEU was up 49-35 at halftime but Arellano later seized the lead when John Pinto scored five straight points, 72-71.
Prince Caperal converted a lay-up for a three-point lead but Tolomia tied the game at 76. Garcia made two free throws while Mendoza buried a jumper for an 80-77 lead.
Arellano continued the threat but made crucial turnovers down the stretch.
Russel Escoto added 13 points for the Tamaraws, while Garcia had 11.
Pinto exploded for 25 points and eight rebounds for the Chiefs. James Forrester added 19 points but a couple of his five turnovers came in the end game.
FEU (81) – Tolomia 18, Escoto 13, Garcia 11, Mendoza 8, Romeo 8, Cruz 7, Pogoy 6, Dennison 5, Belo 3, Jose 2, Sentcheu 0, Inigo 0.
Arellano (79) – Pinto 25, Forrester 19, Caperal 11, Agovida 11, Enriquez 3, Salcedo 2, Gumaru 2, Margallo 2, Cadavis 2, Jalalon 1, Nicholls 1, Hernandez 0, Bangga 0, Malanday 0.
Quarterscores: 22-19; 49-35; 64-58; 81-79.