Filed Under: Basketball, UAAP, FEU Tamaraws, Adamson Falcons, La Salle Green Archers, UST Growling Tigers, RR Garcia, Joven Mendoza
MANILA, Philippines-- Far Eastern University takes pride in its defensive game. But it was the Tamaraws' offense, anchored on white-hot shooting, that shone Sunday.
The unbeaten Tamaraws recorded the highest shooting percentage in seven years to clip the Adamson Falcons, 74-65, and strengthen their hold of the top spot in the 73rd UAAP men's basketball tournament at the PhilSports Arena.
RR Garcia led a balanced charge with 16 points as the Tamaraws registered an impressive 57.4 percent shooting clip.
"I can't say anything more, I'm proud of the boys," said FEU coach Glenn Capacio. "From our first group to the third group, the intensity was the same. Offensively and defensively, this was our best game."
And as the title-favorite Tamaraws continued to live up to its billing, La Salle's young Green Archers sustained their surprise run by grabbing solo second after downing University of Santo Tomas, 61-53, in the second game.
The Archers raced to a 19-point advantage, 41-22, and bucked the Tigers' fourth-quarter rally on the way to their fourth victory in six games.
Jovet Mendoza topscored with 16 points, but the Archers also drew solid games from rookies Almond Vosotros and Luigi dela Paz.
"Our game plan was to play defense above the three-point area because we know UST loves to shoot," said La Salle coach Dindo Pumaren.
Adamson fell to a share of third with the Ateneo Blue Eagles at 3-2, while UST slipped to fifth at 3-3.
The Tigers came as close as four points, 53-49, with Chris Camus sparking the run and Clark Bautista nailing three of his five triples in the fourth quarter.
"I just reminded the players to make some stops, and luckily we did," said Pumaren.
The Tamaraws' were virtually unstoppable from the field, recording the highest shooting clip since the University of the East shot 60 percent in its 80-69 triumph over National University on Sept 4, 2003.
FEU veteran Aldrech Ramos collected 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks, while Cameroonian Pipo Noundou posted a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Tamaraws.
"I know that the other teams are focusing their defense on me, so it's good that everyone's contributing," said Garcia, a former RP Youth Team member.
The Tamaraws had a staggering 60.7 shooting clip in the first half for a 42-32 advantage, before stretching the gap to as many as 15 points, 58-43, in the third quarter.
But Capacio said the Tamaraws, who will shoot for a first-round sweep against the Tigers on Saturday, need to work on their end game.
"I'm not happy with our finish, we had turnovers down the stretch," said Capacio.
Alex Nuyles, who shot a game-high 23 points, towed the Falcons within seven, 58-51, before the Tamaraws responded with a 14-5 spurt to erect a 72-56 lead with four minutes left.
The Tigers had 16 turnovers in the first two quarters as the Archers coasted to a 37-22 halftime advantage.
Bautista, who paced the Tigers with 18 points, accounted for all but one of UST's six total three-pointers in the game.
The Tigers averaged 10 triples per game in its previous five outings.
FEU 74--Garcia 16, Ramos 13, Noundou 11, Knuttel 10, Exciminiano 8, Cervantes 6, Cawaling 5, Romeo 3, Cruz 2, Mendoza 0, Bringas 0, Sanga 0.
ADAMSON 65--Nuyles 23, Cañada 11, Camson 8, Alvarez 7, Colina 4, Cabrera 4, Stinnett 2, Manyara 2, Lozada 2, Basillio 2, Etrone 0, Galinato 0.
Quarters: 24-18, 42-32, 58-49, 74-65
LA SALLE 61--Mendoza 12, Vosotros 8, Dela Paz 8, Villanueva 8, Atkins 7, Tolentino 6, Andrada 6, Tampus 2, Paredes 2, Marata 2, Webb 0, Ferdinand 0.
UST 53--Bautista 18, Camus 13, Mariano 8, Afuang 6, Pe 4, Teng 2, Fortuna 2, Daquioag 0, Marquez 0, Aytona 0.
Quarters: 15-12, 37-22, 47-33, 61-53