FEU's Barkley Eboña works through the UST defense.
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UAAP men's hoops: Consistency key for UST, FEU
Rick Olivares (Philstar.com) - October 15, 2019 - 11:22am

MANILA, Philippines – After 10 games, any coach would have worked out the kinks and inconsistencies in one’s game. UST followed their thrashing at the hands of Ateneo by dealing UE with their worst loss of this year. That should have been the game that turned things around for them yet they fell to FEU, 72-58.

If Ateneo checked Soulemane Chabi Yo, it was the Growling Tigers who held their center in check when they opted to fire away from beyond the arc as if the 3-pointer was fast going out of style. Chabi Yo played all 10 minutes and had no attempts from the field or the free throw line. He did grab three rebounds and issued one assist, but that was it. In the meantime, UST jacked up 14 treys and made five.

The problem is, FEU made five triples too — all in the crunch.

UST lived by the three… and well, died by the three.

Luckily for them, La Salle was dealt a crippling loss by Ateneo last Sunday that dropped the Green Archers down a notch from fourth to fifth.

Now, the Tigers face a must-win situation against UP on Wednesday.

A word on UP: I think it is great that the league commissioner decided to waive the final game suspension of Fighting Maroons head coach Bo Perasol. I do not believe that he should be left off the hook as this is the second consecutive year that he has been tossed for complaining. And both times against Ateneo and both non-calls were correct. 

This is actually the second time that the length of suspension was commuted. Back in 2010, FEU women’s football coach Kim Chul-Su was banned. Yes, banned by then UAAP football commissioner Jojo Rodriguez for attacking a referee following a contentious loss. The Korean and three of his players physically ganged up on the referee. Mysteriously, within a few games, Kim was back on the bench. 

Intramurals on the court and in the boardroom — that is also what the UAAP is known for.

Earlier during the first round, the Tigers looked really good. Even in their loss to Ateneo in the first round, they still looked good. Their setbacks to Adamson (in the first round) and their blowout losses to Ateneo and FEU in the second round have certainly taken shine off that luster. 

Speaking of consistency, the poster team for that in this Season 82 are the FEU Tamaraws. The Jekyll and Hyde Tamaraws looked lost to UP in the first round then rallied only to fall short. They looked really bad against Ateneo then defeated La Salle. They lost to cellar-dweller NU, but won against streaking Adamson. They defeated UP in overtime to start the second round then lost to last place NU again. 

To further illustrate their predicament — FEU is second in team defense but dead last on offense. It has been an up and down season also for their veterans Wendell Comboy,  Barkley Eboña, Alec Stockton, Ken Tuffin, Rey Bienes and Hubert Cani. 

Three of their four scoring leaders are young players in LJ Gonzales (who doesn’t do well in the clutch), Xyrus Torres and Pat Tchuente.

Imagine that. FEU won with Tchuente scoring only one point (although he did grab 11 boards but was mostly ineffective). 

The question facing them when they take on La Salle this Saturday is: Which Tamaraws team will show up?

They were in fifth spot before the last weekend’s matches. That win coupled with the losses of UST and La Salle saw them jump to third spot. A win will see them hold on to that spot. But they have to be at their absolute best if they want to fulfill their semi-finals ambitions in this most trying of seasons.

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