FAR Eastern University-Diliman dealt the Adamson Baby Falcons their first defeat with a 75-73 decision on Saturday in the UAAP Season 79 juniors basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Nursing an ankle injury he suffered during the holidays, Jeffrey Sapinit led the way for the Baby Tamaraws with 24 points to pick up their sixth win in eight outings.
The Baby Tamaraws gave the Baby Falcons a rude welcome in the second round after going 7-0 in the first round.
“Binigay niya ‘yung lahat ng magagawa niya. Hindi siya 100 percent. Last Monday lang siya nag-practice kaya kanina alalay lang siya,” said FEU coach Allan Albano.
Sapinit had 14 points in the first half to put the Baby Tamaraws ahead, 47-38. He added eight in the final canto including a lay-up for a 67-66 advantage for FEU, which blew a late lead as high as 11 points.
Despite a 70-67 edge by Adamson, FEU didn’t wilt with Xyrus Torres converting a triple, Royce Alforque burying a jumper, and Louell Gonzales converting two free throws to take a 74-70 lead.
The Baby Tamaraws came into the match confident they can pull off a victory over the Baby Falcons and the confidence showed down the stretch, according to Albano.
“Sa huling mga practices namin at nung Christmas break namin, nakita ko sa mga mata nila na gusto nilang manalo," he said.
“Last practice namin kahapon, hindi maganda kasi medyo nagkumpiyansa sila pero kahit masama ‘yung practice namin, naniniwala ako kasi nasa utak nila na gusto nilang manalo,” added Albano.
Encho Serrano had 24 points, while Jason Celis tallied 22 for the Baby Falcons who also lost their chance of making the finals outright via sweep of the elimination round.
FEU (75)—Sapinit 24, Jabel 11, Roman 9, Alforque 7, Torres 6, Gloria 6, Gonzales 5, Celzo 5, Abarrientos 2, Gabane 0, Bieren 0, Baclay 0.
AdU (73)—Serrano 24, Celis 22, Agbong 7, Abadiano 5, Santos 5, Tamayo 3, Antiporda 2, Padrigao 2, Sabandal 2, Flores 1, Beltran 0, Desoyo 0.
Quarters: 19-20, 47-38, 59-59, 75-73.