FEU's Xyrus Torres goes for a teardrop shot against David Murrell of UP
Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas
UAAP Sunday: Big wins for DLSU, FEU; Galling losses for NU, UP
Rick Olivares (Philstar.com) - October 7, 2019 - 1:26pm

MANILA, Philippines – I expected the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons to come out with a fire and a renewed sense of purpose. Instead, they looked disjointed in an 82-79 loss in overtime to the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, who can be a maddening and inconsistent lot. 

Twice FEU spotted leads, including a huge 19-point advantage heading into the endgame and twice they came back. And honestly, I thought that FEU got the raw end of the stick on many a crucial call. Still, the Fighting Maroons blew it.

It was a reversal of their first round tussle on opening day when UP led by double digits after which FEU rallied but came up short in a 61-55 loss. Since his high school days, the scouting report on FEU’s LJ Gonzales is he turns the ball over during the crunch and doesn’t do much (much like former star Terrence Romeo did during his early years at FEU). Luckily for them, Ken Tuffin and Wendell Comboy came up big. That was a ballsy triple that Tuffin fired in the end game to snatch the lead for good.

As we said, UP’s scoring sock now comes from Kobe Paras, Bright Akhuetie, and Javi Gomez de Liaño with his brother Juan, and Ricci Rivero unable to find their place in the rotation and system. They had more fastbreak points (17-9), points off turnovers (35-19), inside points (48-34), and free throws (12-18 to 7-11), and still they lost. 

In contrast, FEU got good performances out of Tuffin (18 points) who broke out of his slump, Gonzales, Pat Tchuente, Xyrus Torres, and Comboy. 

This is the point where teams start to find their legs but the veterans on either side continue to struggle. For the Tams, it is shocking to see the loss in form and confidence of Hubert Cani who looks like he was back in Ateneo when he was a rookie. Barkley Eboña isn’t going out like former teammate Raymar Jose did in his final season. Rey Bienes was a non-factor too. Again, that is why they struggle with the young players forced to lead them when they lack the experience. 

They have six days to right their ship against a fired up University of the East squad that is riding a two-match win streak. If they continue their fall, La Salle could sneak into that second spot.

Speaking of the Green Archers, they demolished hapless, clueless, and dispirited National University, 85-61. Issa Gaye played only 14 minutes and scored five points and grabbed eight boards. Yet, he never returned late in the game.

The Bulldogs will have the FEU Tamaraws and the Adamson University Soaring Falcons on their radar for the next two matches. Given how all three have been inconsistent, it is anybody’s ball game. But still… that is it for the Bulldogs this season.

The Green Archers never stepped off that gas pedal and the only drama at the end was that post-game spat between NU’s Jamike Jarin and DLSU’s Jermaine Byrd. That was the only fight NU put up the entire game.

Putting the big hurt on NU was former Bullpup Justine Baltazar, who finished with 25 points and 25 rebounds.

FEU MAROONS TAMARAWS UAAP
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