- April 13, 2021 05:37
By Joaquin Luis E. Quesada
Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws tightened its grip on Final Four spot after forcing a late surge against University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers, 72-58, in the second round of University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) season 82 men’s basketball tourney, October 13 at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.
“It was a hard fought win, from the opening buzzer until the final buzzer,” FEU head coach Olsen Racela said.
Tams’ rookie-guard Royce Alforque delivered when it mattered the most for FEU, setting a new career-high of 16 points with six assists and four boards on an efficient seven-on-eight shooting in the field.
As FEU has been consistent on joining the Final Four match, the Cebu-native Alforque put this on his mind with respect to what coach Racela told them about the possibility of losing the race.
“Pinasok lang namin sa utak ‘yung sinabi ni coach Olsen, kasi isang talo [na lang] pwede na kami hindi makapasok sa Final Four (We put into our minds what coach Olsen said, because in just one loss, we might not make it to the final four), Alforque said.
It was in the final canto when the green-and-gold cagers made a 13-2 late storm surge to blast the Tigers, 66-53, courtesy of Alforque continuously setting up for crucial triples of Xyrus Torres, Wendell Comboy and Brandey Bienes.
The backcourt rookie wanted to help the seniors of the team by consistently making into the Final Four frame, giving their graduating teammates a good exit.
“’Yung mga seniors namin, kasi gusto namin silang tulungan. Kasi consistent kami na nasa Final Four, iniisip namin na gagawin namin ‘to para sa kanila. Para sa pag-exit nila, maganda 'yung pag-exit nila (We want to help our seniors because we are consistently in the Final Four, we’re thinking that we’ll do this for them. So that in their departure, their exit would be great), Alforque shared.
The Racela-led squad pulled down the Tigers for a solo spot in the standings, sharing a seat with a 5-5 win-loss card at third place.
Tamaraws’ next obstacle will be the undefeated two-time champs Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) Blue Eagles on Wednesday, October 16 at the same venue.
“Paghahandaan namin ‘yung Ateneo, then gagawin lang namin [‘yung] lahat ng best namin (We’re going to prepare [for] the game [against] the Ateneo, then we’re going to do all of our best), Alforque remarked.
(See full album: UAAP 82 Men's Basektball Round 2 - FEU vs UST)