RJ ABARRIENTOS drilled in a triple with 47 seconds left as Far Eastern University came storming back from a 16-point deficit to defeat Ateneo, 64-62, and clinch the No. 2 seed on Thursday in the UAAP Season 79 juniors basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
The nephew of PBA great Johnny Abarrientos finished with 10 points but made the game's biggest basket - a clutch three from the left corner in the dying seconds to cap an FEU comeback and give the Baby Tamaraws a one-point margin.
FEU’s defense later came together in the final moments to complete the comeback victory that gave the Bab Tamaraws a twice-to-beat advantage when the two teams meet again at the start of the semifinal round on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Following the Abarrientos basket, Ateneo still had a chance to take the lead but SJ Belangel threw up an off-balanced shot, and was later called for contentious offensive foul - his fifth and final foul - in the Blue Eaglets’ next possession.
Jack Gloria finished with a team-high 14 points while Kenji Roman had 10 points for the Baby Tamaraws, who engineered that big comeback after shooting just 9-of-45 in the first half.
Belangel had 23 points before fouling out, while rookie center Kai Sotto had an impressive 17 rebounds and seven blocks for the Blue Eaglets.
FEU (64)—Gloria 14, Abarrientos 10, Roman 10, Celzo 9, Sapinit 7, Gonzales 6, Gabene 6, Sevilla 2, Torres 0, Jabel 0, Ro. Alforque 0, Baclay 0, Bieren 0, Ra. Alforque 0.
Ateneo (62)—Belangel 23, Manuel 13, Ildefonso 10, Berjay 10, Credo 2, Sotto 2, Escalona 2, Salazar 0, Angeles 0.
Quarters: 6-20, 24-37, 45-49, 64-62.