FAR Eastern University captured its first UAAP juniors basketball championship in five years by beating National University, 81-73, on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
LJ Gonzales bounced back after being saddled with foul trouble in the first half to help the Baby Tamaraws complete a sweep of NU in the best-of-three series.
After being held to just two points in the first half, Gonzales went berserk with 10 in the final quarter to help the Baby Tamaraws wrapp up their first league title since Jerie Pingoy led the team to the 2012 title.
Gonzales finished with 12 points, three rebounds, and six assists in Game Two to take Finals MVP honors.
The Baby Tamaraws won the juniors crown for only the second time since Johnny Abarrientos led the Baby Tamaraws to the title in the 1987-1988 season.
Kenji Roman had 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Baby Tamaraws, while RJ Abarrientos got 13 points, six rebounds, and two steals in picking up the slack after Gonzales suffered foul troubles.
Gonzales spearheaded a 12-2 run in the fourth quarter that began with a triple to tie the game at 63. He also dished out an assist to Abarrientos for a triple that gave FEU the lead for good, 68-65.
“Ibang klase ‘yung saya na ‘to,” said FEU coach Allan Albano, who was carried by his players in the traditional victory ride.
It was a disappointing end to the Bullpups’ season after taking the top seed in the semifinals with an 11-3 record.
John Lloyd Clemente finished his high school career with a loss as scored 26 points for NU in 31 minutes of action.
FEU 81 — Roman 18, Abarrientos 13, Gonzales 12, Gabane 10, Gloria 9, Jabel 5, Celzo 5, Torres 3, Sapinit 2, Baclay 2, Ro. Alforque 2, Sevilla 0, Bieren 0, Ra. Alforque 0.
NU 73 — Clemente 26, Penano 10, Amsali 7, Manalang 7, Tolentino 6, Sarip 5, Malonzo 4, Coyoca 3, Callejo 3, Atienza 2, Fortea 0, Dela Cruz 0.
Quarterscores: 15-26; 30-34; 51-50; 81-73.