MANILA, Philippines—Far Eastern University scaled the heights of a deep hole and turned back University of the East, 75-68, on Sunday at the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament.
Down by 15 in the first half, the Tamaraws transformed the deficit into a 14-point advantage built on the timely snipings of Xyrus Torres, Bryan Sajonia and L-Jay Gonzales while forcing the Warriors into a maze of costly turnovers on the other end.
Torres had six threes and five steals to finish with 22 points and Patrick Tchuente chipped in 13 points and 11 rebounds, his uncontested two-handed slam in the final minute capping FEU’s third win in a row after a 0-5 start.
“We have to be 100 percent immediately in the first quarter and we’re not supposed to start slow. But I’m glad we were able to recover and get back at them,” said Torres, whose three finally knotted the count at 45 that set the stage for the turnaround.
Nick Paranada paced UE with 21 points before hurting his right shoulder with one minute and 26 seconds remaining while Luis Villegas added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the turnover-prone Warriors.
“I told Xyrus that he should be more than just a shooter since his value in the team is defense. He deserves his minutes and I trust that he will get his shooting back,” said FEU coach Olsen Racela.
Jalen Stevens barreled his way for six straight points and Paranada also scored six punctuated by a completed three-point play that pulled the Warriors within four.
But it turned out to be UE’s last hurrah as Tchuente pulled down a crucial offensive board and converted it before his monster jam pushed FEU ahead by eight.
“We’re trying to ride on that momentum in the first round. Although we got caught off guard at the start, we just stuck to the game plan. Our zone defense helped us in the second quarter, but team defense gave us the win,” said Racela.
The Tamaraws coerced UE into 20 turnovers, several of them came when FEU pulled away early in the fourth. The Warriors fell to 3-5.
FEU 75 — Torres 22, Gonzales 14, Tchuente 13, Sajonia 6, Anonuevo 5, Sleat 4, Bautista 4, Bagunu 3, Tempra 2, Celzo 2, Alforque 0, Sandagon 0.
UE 68 — N. Paranada 21, Stevens 13, Villegas 13, Payawal 9, K. Paranada 6, Sawat 4, Pagsanjan 2, Remogat 0, Alcantara 0, Guevarra 0, Antiporda 0, Beltran 0.
Quarters: 8-23, 34-42, 55-51, 75-68.
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