Tams trample Tigers, seize Game 1 win

FEU Tamaraw point guard Mike Tolomia puts up a shot against UST defenders. | Efigenio Toledo IV/Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines - After 40 minutes, it was the Tamaraws who stayed true to their team's slogan.

Far Eastern University went on a rampage late in the fourth period to turn back University of Santo Tomas, 75-64, and take Game One of the UAAP Finals, Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

RELATED: FEU-UST Game 1 Photos

Roger Pogoy waxed hot early in the first period to help the Tamaraws build a sizeable lead and not letting up until the third salvo. He finished with 15 markers with Mike Tolomia adding 14 and Mac Belo chiming in a double-double (13 points and 13 rebounds).

Prince Orizu figured as a factor for the Tams, going perfect from the field and finishing with 10 points to go with three dunks. He and Belo led the Tamaraws in dominating the glass, corralling a combined 22 rebounds.

The Tigers, who have been in three UAAP Finals in four years, erased a 14-point Tamaraws advantage via Karim Abdul's heroics. Abdul, who only rested for four minutes, topscored for UST with 19 points.

The Cameroonian's effort paved the way to a fourth-quarter rally by the pesky tandem of Kevin Ferrer and rookie Mario Bonleon, who tallied 15 and 6 markers, respectively.

But it was not enough to fend off the Tamaraws' charge in crunch time, rendering nine lead changes between the latter and the Tigers.

"We won because of our defense," FEU coach Nash Racela said post-game. "This team has been underrated as a defensive team… Nakakita kami ng tiyempo… It showed.

"We see ourselves in [them]," referring to UST fielding players in long, simmered playing time. "Guys were too tired," Racela, who also led the Tams to the Finals last year, added.


FEU dominated the boards with a total of 56, twice the total rebounds of UST. Belo led all Tams in the department with 13. Abdul led the Tigers with only nine.

Orizu broke out for a total of three dunks, one of which was a putback and the other to ignite a late run in the final minutes of the game to make it 69-62. The Tamaraws never looked back since.

Vigil, who was the hero in UST's victory over the defending champions NU in the Final Four, was a nonfactor. Ed Daquioag was lackluster, too, later telling reporters "Nagkulang ako." The duo finished with eight and four points, respectively.


Tigers skipper Ferrer, who logged 15 markers, didn't assure a UST win in the second game. "Di kami magpapangako sa UST. Gagawin lang namin ang lahat."


Prodded by reporters if he's doing too much, Abdul said, "I have no choice… Winning is all that matters."


Former PBA MVP and UAAP Champion Arwind Santos was among the FEU crowd.

Over at the UST side, Japs Cuan, a member of the famed 2006 UST Tigers squad that won a UAAP championship, was in attendance.


PBA legend Victor Pablo was also among the spectators. Alvin Patrimonio, co-holder of most PBA MVP plums, donned a UST coaching staff uniform for the very first time. The latter serves as UST's big man coach.


Racela noted that the Tams are not taking any chances going into the second game. He even offered that Daquioag will mount a comeback, "because he's a veteran."


Game 2 of the Finals will be held this Saturday, November 28, at the Big Dome. The match begins 3:30 p.m. If the Tigers pull off an equalizer, Game 3 will be on Wednesday, December 2.

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