FAR Eastern University shot the lights out in the first half and never looked back, ending University of Santo Tomas’ six-game winning streak with an 87-60 victory on Thursday in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the MOA Arena.
One of the most anticipated return bouts in the second round turned into a mismatch when the Tamaraws shot 20-of-29 from the field in the first half, which opened a lead that only got bigger and bigger.
The Tamaraws, who dealt UST’s only loss in the first round with a 73-72 decision on opening day, matched the Tigers' 6-2 win-loss record, good for second spot behind defending champion Ateneo's 6-1 card.
FEU has now beaten UE in 11 out of their last 12 encounters.
Unlike their previous game against Ateneo where they failed to hold on to the lead, the Tamaraws' lead this time got bigger and bigger and reached a high of 29 points—thanks to its defense and an 18-of-33 clip from the field in the second half.
“Pinag-usapan talaga namin kung paano namin masusustain ’yung malaking lamang,” said FEU coach Bert Flores. “Depensa pa rin.”
The Tigers were also to blame as they dug themselves a deep hole when they only converted seven of their 35 shots in the first half — including 0-of-14 from behind the arc.
UST scored only nine in the first period against FEU’s 26 and trailed 19-47 at the half.
Flores admitted he was still worried in the second half because of the Tigers' three come-from-behind victories in the first round.
The fears turned out to be unfounded.
“Ready kami sa kanila dahil magaling sa come-from-behind ang UST. Pinasok ko muna mga bench players ko at maganda and inilaro nila,” said Flores.
The Tamaraws also spoiled the return of Jeric Teng from a knee injury. The Tigers co-captain only had two points in 15 minutes of action.
FEU (87) – Romeo 19, Pogoy 13, Hargrove 13, A. Bringas 10, M. Bringas 8, Tolomia 7, Garcia 5, Sentcheu 4, Mendoza 4, Belo 2, Cruz 2, Inigo 0, Jose 0, Guerrero 0.
UST (60) – Mariano 15, Fortuna 12, Abdul 11, Bautista 8, Vigil 4, Ferrer 4, Teng 2, Pe 2, Daquioag 2, Lo 0, Hainga 0, Garrido 0, Afuang 0.
Quarterscores: 26-9; 47-19; 66-40; 87-60.