Tams shoot down Falcons, grab solo lead

MANILA, Philippines - Far Eastern U flirted with disaster before scoring a 64-60 escape act over a surprisingly tough Adamson side yesterday to wrest the solo lead in the UAAP Season 78 men's basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Francis Tamsi, Russel Escoto, Mike Tolomia, Roger Pogoy, and Mac Belo joined hands in a 14-4 windup that enabled the Tams to wipe out a six-point deficit and thwart the Falcons' upset bid.

The Tams picked up their fourth straight victory for a leading 5-1 while the Falcons fell to their sixth consecutive setback.

FEU coach Nash Racela was relieved his wards came out of a tough three-game, eight-day swing unscathed. Prior to the Falcons, the Tams hurdled University of the Philippines, 75-58, and University of the East, 92-81.

"Going to this week, we expected a hard three games and every single game that we played this week was really hard. Muntikan pa kami (We almost blew it against Adamson)," said Racela.

Escoto took the scoring cudgels for FEU with 11 points, laced by back-to-back buckets that sparked their searing run.

Tolomia, playing with sprain, added 10 markers spiked by a big trey that gave the Tams a 60-58 cushion going to the last 41.8 seconds. Belo also had 10 points, including the charities that clinched it with 9.4 seconds left.

Import Papi Sarr banged in 26 markers and 22 boards for AdU, which has now lost its last 10 games to FEU.

"Hindi namin kaya ang import nila, malakas talaga (We can't handle their import who's really strong). He was really dominating the game and then maganda ang timing ng ibang players nila (the other AdU players also came out). Suddenly because of our focus on their import, (Joseph) Nalos suddenly attacked, (JD) Tungcab did the same. Their timing was good, that's why we were somehow caught off guard defensively," said Racela.

Earlier, La Salle hacked out a 71-64 victory over University of the East to extend its streak to two games and improve to 3-2.

The Archers emerged victorious despite committing a whopping 30 turnovers against the press of the Warriors, who, however, couldn't make the most out of it and fell to their third consecutive setback for 2-4 overall.

"Hard win. UE kept battling until the very last minute and even when we got the lead to double digit, they still found a way back. It was also a great effort from all the boys, they didn't give up and played until the final second," said DLSU coach Juno Sauler.

Jeron Teng fired 16 points to go with seven rebounds to lead DLSU while rookies Josh Caracut (16 markers and five boards) and Larry Muyang (11 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks) dished out career-high productions.

Nick Abanto topscored with a personal-best 14 as UE didn't get much from top gunner Bonbon Batiller, who limped with two on a 0-of-nine clip against the defense of Josh Torralba and Julian Sargent.


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