- December 06, 2023 04:08
By Andrei M. Barrantes
Far Eastern University (FEU) gunner Jorick Bautista shot the lights out despite the 76-80 loss in overtime against the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) season 86 men’s basketball tourney this morning, October 11, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Bautista dropped 26 points and six three-pointers on an impressive six-for-six from beyond the line and four-for-four on free throws.
In a post-game interview with FEU Advocate, head coach Denok Miranda commended Bautista with his performance but expects more from the Morayta-based guard.
“Masaya ako pero hindi ako satisfied. Mas gusto ko marami pa, alam kong may maibubuga pa siya roon (I’m happy but not satisfied. I want him to score more, and I know he has much more to offer),” he said.
FEU was at striking distance to start the game but fell to a larger deficit near the end of the first quarter due to poor playmaking, shot selection, and costly turnovers.
The Morayta-based cagers corrected their scoring woes and played more efficiently in the second quarter on both sides of the floor. The green-and-gold squad took the lead at the 8:42 mark after back-to-back triples from Bautista.
Though both teams evenly traded points, FEU firmly held the lead with green-and-gold bigman Miguel Ona scoring four points after consecutive pick-and-rolls with Royce Alforque.
On the defensive end, veteran forward Xyrus Torres led the pack with three steals converting on two fastbreaks, 38-35.
After losing the lead at the start of the second half due to improved scoring from Fighting Maroons Malick Diouf and CJ Cansino, team captain LJay Gonzales and Bautista kept them afloat, scoring 6 and 5 respectively.
Foul trouble from FEU bigs Leyton Buenaventura and Ona chipped away their lead, narrowly escaping the 3rd quarter 56-54.
To start the fourth, a small-ball lineup of Gonzales, Bautista, Ona, Torres, and Sleat exposed the Tamaraws in the paint and gave them problems on drives to the basket.
FEU starting center Mo Faty was benched with two minutes left in regulation after committing his fourth personal foul which converted into an and-one play that broke the deadlock at 65-all.
Both teams struggled to score for a minute and a half until Bautista connected on a crucial three-pointer to tie the game with 30 seconds left.
In the final seconds, a last-second turnaround jumper on the baseline by UP’s Francis Lopez was tipped in by Diouf and was called an offensive interference, resulting in a no-basket call and overtime.
During overtime, Faty remained on the bench with the much smaller Ona stepping up as the FEU center.
Height proved to be a crutch for the green-and-gold squad as Diouf scored two straight baskets and two crucial free throws from Royce Alforque foul, 76-80.
Coach Denok expressed his sentiments on the wasted opportunity to upset the undefeated UP.
“Sayang. Andun kami pero hindi kami naka-execute sa dulo (It was a wasted opportunity. We were there but we failed to execute towards the end),” he added.
Gonzales is the only other Tamaraw with double-digit points as he chipped in 19 points, nine rebounds and four assists while Torres contributed on both ends of the floor with nine points and four steals.
FEU still has yet to claim their first win as they fall to a 0-4 win-loss record and will regroup ahead of their match against the defending champion Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles on October 14 at the same venue.
(Photo by Karch Rafael/FEU Advocate)