FAR Eastern University leaned on a big fourth quarter start to defeat Ateneo, 66-61, in the UAAP Season 78 men’s basketball tournament Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Mac Belo, Achie Inigo, and Alfrancis Tamsi connived as the Tamaraws scored seven unanswered points at the start of the pivotal fourth and break a close 47-47 deadlock en route to the grind-out win.
Tamsi sparked the telling run a three-pointer followed by a long Inigo jumper, before two free throws by Belo capped the offensive charge that saw the Tamaraws grabbed a 54-47 lead which they never relinquished.
The Morayta-based squad has now won six straight game to take the top spot with a 7-1 win loss slate.
Belo finished the game with 12 points while putting the cusp on Ateneo star Kiefer Ravena on the defensive end late in the game.
Russel Escoto had 10 points and six rebounds, while RR Pogoy added 10 for the Tamaraws, whose coach admitted the team still has work to do especially on defense.
“There is a lot to improve on I think especially on the defensive end. Hindi namin na-achieve ‘yung goal namin today,” said FEU coach Nash Racela.
Ravena finished with 15 points, five rebounds, and three assists but shot 5-of-15 from the field for the Blue Eagles, who lost two straight games and three of their last four matches to fall at an event 4-4 card to start the second round.
It was actually a tumultuous week for Ateneo, whose management expressed full support on head coach Bo Perasol following rumors he might be on the way out following the Eagles’ loss to La Salle at the end of the first round.
FEU (66) - Belo 12, Ru. Escoto 10, Pogoy 10, Tolomia 8, Inigo 7, Tamsi 6, Dennison 4, Arong 3, Jose 2, Orizu 2, Trinidad 2, Ri. Escoto 0, K. Holmqvist 0.
Ateneo (61) - Ravena 15, Wong 14, Pessumal 8, Gotladera 7, Black 6, Ikeh 6, Babilonia 3, A. Tolentino 2, Apacible 0, Cani 0, Capacio 0, Ma. Nieto 0, V. Tolentino 0.
Quarterscores: 19-19; 30-32; 47-47; 66-61.