FAR Eastern University survived a late scare from St. Clare to hack out an 86-82 victory and stay unscathed in the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup on Friday at The Arena in San Juan.
The Tamaraws almost saw their double-digit cushion disintegrate against a non-UAAP squad before hanging tough down the stretch to notch their fifth straight win in Group B.
Still, the Saints provided a worthy challenge before absorbing their third loss in four games in the preseason tournament.
“Ito yung mga games na kailangan namin,” Tamaraws coach Nash Racela said. “It wouldn’t help us if we won by twenty points.”
Anthony Hargrove registered a team-high 16 points, but it was Achi Iñigo and Mark Belo who delivered the telling blows in the endgame to preserve the victory.
Blossoming star Mike Tolomia played just 21 minutes and the rest of the starters hardly saw action, but the Tamaraws still maintained a comfortable lead that ballooned to as many as 17 points, 41-24, after a Ron Dennison triple midway through the second quarter.
But the Saints mounted a late fightback that saw the National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities runner-up nudge to within a point, 78-79 after two free throws from Jason Ibarra.
But Iñigo retaliated with a contested jumper and Belo a shot-clock beating off-the-board triple to douse the fire.
FEU (86) – Hargrove 16, Belo 15, Iñigo 10, Tolomia 9, Pogoy 9, Jose 8, Cruz 7, Escoto 4, Tamsi 3, Dennison 3, David 2, Lee Yu 0, Delfinado 0, Ugsang 0, Belga 0
SCC (82) – Ibay 18, Bolos 16, Ibarra 13, Fabien 12, Gil 11, Acebron 7, Jamito 2, Managuelod 2, Lunor 1, Amboludto 0
Quarterscores: 25-19, 43-35, 64-55, 86-82