ACHIE Iñigo saved Far Eastern University from a huge upset as the Tamaraws beat University of the Philippines, 75-69, on Saturday to clinch at least a playoff for a Final Four berth in the UAAP Season 77 men’s basketball tournament at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Iñigo scored eight points, five in the final two minutes including a three-pointer to reclaim the lead for league-leading FEU, which avoided the upset following some huge shots by UP.
The Tamaraws cemented their hold at first place with a 9-2 win-loss slate.
Diego Dario knocked in a triple from the left corner to give UP a 69-68 lead with 2:02 left, but UP’s lead was short-lived as Iñigo banked in a three with 1:41 remaining.
It was a huge win for FEU, with head coach Nash Racela missing the game as he left for Spain to join Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba World Cup.
“Ewan ko, parang hindi ako masaya,” said FEU acting coach Eric Gonzales. “I’m happy sa linaro ng UP. I salute them.”
The Maroons dropped to 1-10 but gave the top-ranked Tamaraws a fight. UP tied FEU at the half, 35-35, and was trailing by just one point, 53-52, at the end of the third.
“I kept on reminding them na eto ‘yung mga nakakatakot na game,” said Gonzales, referring to their games against minnows UP and Adamson with Racela out.
Mike Tolomia had 19 points for the Tamaraws but fouled out with three minutes left. Mark Belo added 14 and Anthony Hargrove scored 11.
FEU (75) – Tolomia 19, Belo 14, Hargrove 11, Inigo 8, Pogoy 7, Cruz 7, Lee Yu 5, Jose 4, Tamsi 0, Ugsang 0, Denila 0.
UP (69) – Gallarza 18, Reyes 14, Dario 10, Moralde 9, Juruena 8, Lao 4, Gingerich 3, Vito 3, Harris 0.
Quarterscores: 19-18, 35-35, 53-52, 75-69.