The Tamaraws finally found their touch from beyond the arc, making nine three-pointers in the second half alone to fend off every single Red Warrior attempt at a comeback.
Arvin Tolentino and Ken Tuffin scored seven three-pointers between them as the Tamaraws took their first win in the second round and tied the UP Fighting Maroons for the fourth and fifth places on 6-6 records.
The Tamaraws and the Maroons are just half a game ahead of sixth- running University of Santo Tomas (5-6) and a game and a half behind third-running La Salle (7-4).
Alvin Pasaol fired 16 points in the third period to inject some life into the Red Warriors, but the closest the team got was within 10 as Rey Bienes hit two three-pointers to keep the Red Warriors at bay.
“Well, for us, siguro it's a new lease on life. It's our first win sa second round. We are hoping to get the next game and another one to keep our playoff hopes alive,” said Olsen Racela, looking ahead to National University and Adamson in their final two games of the season.
“Definitely, there were doubts nung four-game losing streak namin. But you have to give it to these boys for staying positive,” he added.
Tolentino finished with 18 points, five rebounds and two steals to lead the charge for the Tamaraws while Tuffin added 17 points and four boards.
Kevin Ebona stepped up for the Tamaraws in Prince Oriozu's absence as he finished with 12 points and 16 boards. Bienes chipped in nine.
Pasaol finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds but made just eight of his 29 attempts from the field for a paltry 28 percent shooting. No other player breached double digits for the Red Warriors as they dropped their seventh straight game to fall to 1-11.
FEU 80 – Tolentino 18, Tuffin 17, Ebona 12, Bienes 9, Escoto 6, Inigo 6, Gonzales 3, Nunag 3, Parker 2, Stockton 2, Comboy 2, Ramirez 0, Cani 0, Jopia 0
UE 61 – Pasaol 24, Manalang 6, Varilla 6, Cullar 6, Maloles 4, Bartolome 3, Antiporda 3, Gallardo 3, Sobrevega 3, Gagate 2, Conner 1, Beltran 0, Acuno 0
Quarterscores: 21-13, 41-26, 63-49, 80-61