RAYMAR Jose played the game of his life, finishing with 20 points and 23 rebounds to keep Far Eastern University's finals hopes alive with a 62-61 win over Ateneo on Saturday in the UAAP Season 79 seniors basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Jose’s dominating performance on offense and off the boards enabled the Tamaraws to extend the Final Four series to a rubber match against the second-seeded and twice-to-beat Blue Eagles.
The sudden-death match is set on Wednesday afternoon at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Tamaraws overcame a 10-point Ateneo run lead with a late 21-4 run capped off by free throws by Monbert Arong for a 60-55 lead in the dying seconds.
Only two late three-pointers by Thirdy Ravena - including an inconsequential one at the buzzer - made the score close in a game marred by spotty shooting from both sides in the first half but got exciting towards the end.
Arong also had a big game for the Tamaraws with 13 points, including nine in the fourth quarter as FEU beat Ateneo for the first time in three meetings this season, ending the Blue Eagles' six-game winning run.
“Ayoko pa magbakasyon,” said Jose, who almost outrebounded the entire Ateneo team, 17-18, in the second half.
Aaron Black had 11 points while Ravena added 10 points for the Blue Eagles, who lost their touch on offense after taking a 49-39 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Arong started FEU’s big run with several drives before a putback by Jose pulled the Tamaraws within two points, 51-49.
Ateneo got its lead back to six points, but the Tamaraws’ run continued with Arong scoring a jumper off a defensive rebound by the Jose for a 57-55 lead with 1:25 left in the fourth quarter.
“I told them not to break down. There were a lot of questionable calls. We were trying our best. Halos bumigay na kami. True enough, they accepted the challenge,” said FEU coach Nash Racela.
“I think the whole team was ready to pitch in,” said Racela.
FEU (62)—Jose 20, Arong 13, Orizu 9, Comboy 8, Dennison 6, Inigo 4, Tuffin 2, Escoto 0, Trinidad 0, Ebona 0, Holmqvist 0, Nunag 0, Bayquin 0, Denila 0.
ADMU (61)—Black 11, Ravena 10, Asistio 9, Go 8, Verano 7, Ikeh 5, Mi. Nieto 4, Ma. Nieto 3, Wong 2, Porter 2, Tolentino 0.
Quarterscores: 10-10, 23-20, 35-42, 62-61.