Depleted FEU squad out of final four in second straight year, bows down to UP

FEU Advocate
November 11, 2023 09:56

By Andrei M. Barrantes

Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws will remain on the outside looking in during the playoffs after the 64-81 defeat against the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons in the University Athletic Association (UAAP) season 86 men’s basketball tournament today, November 11, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Sobrang sakit na hindi kami ulit nakapasok ng final four.. Sa practice pa lang talaga binibigay na [namin] ‘yung best namin para pag dating sa game, ‘yung result makikita na lang. Happy din ako [with] the way we play na kahit na out na kami sa final four, pinaglalaban pa rin namin talaga para ‘yung exit namin at least maganda (It was painful to be out of the final four again… We showed our best during practices so that we could see results during the actual games. But I’m still happy with the way we played that even though we were out, we still fight for a good exit),” team captain LJay Gonzales said in a post-game interview.

The Morayta-based squad battled with a 12-man lineup still without senior guard Royce Alforque and forward Cholo Añonuevo, who went down with another injury in their previous game.

Gonzales spoke on the injuries that riddled the Tamaraws' season, hindering their playoff aspirations.

Lagi ko lang sila mino-motivate na kahit wala na kami sa final four, laruin lang namin nang maayos ito, matatapos din namin ng maayos ito kahit na may injuries kasi walang maglalaro sa amin eh… Ilan lang maglalaro sa kanila, mga lima, anim, so sabi ko sa sarili ko kahit na may iniinda ako kasi nasa mindset ako na gusto ko tapusin ‘yung UAAP ng maayos din ‘yung value ko (I always motivate them that we play well to finish strong even with injuries and if we are out of the final four. We only had five to six players in the rotation, so I played through the injuries because my mindset is to finish the UAAP to also preserve my value),” Gonzales added.

FEU went off to a sluggish start in the first quarter. They missed all but a Gonzales floater went down as much as 10 points.

They finally picked up the pace with a triple from Morayta guards Jorick Bautista, Patrick Sleat, and Xyrus Torres.

The green-and-gold squad momentarily regained the lead in the first play of the second with Bautista acing a four-point play on UP’s CJ Cansino.

Gonzales and Bautista carried much of the scoring load in the first half with 10 and nine markers, respectively. FEU shot only 22% in the first half, going down 27-34 at halftime.

To start the second half, Morayta bigman Mo Faty scored four straight points to halt UP’s mini-run.

Diliman guard Harold Alarcon converted on a four-point play on his own and aced another three pointer to extend the lead to 13.

Despite 20 FEU points in the third, they could not contain UP’s consistency, going down 47-60.

In the final quarter, FEU struggled to get a field goal in, scoring only after three straight UP baskets.

Despite inching to as close as twelve, FEU lost momentum, 64-81.

Gonzales poured 20 points, four steals and four rebounds, but was a net negative with -24 plus-minus. Bautista scored 17 markers and four triples, while Sleat and Torres both chipped in eight points.

FEU shot a tragic 28% from the field and only made nine triples out of 30 attempts. The Morayta squad also relied heavily on the starters as the bench only scored seven points to UP’s 21.

The Tamaraws fall to seventh place with a 3-9 win-loss record and will play their second to the last game against De La Salle University (DLSU) on November 15 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

(Photo by Karch Rafael/FEU Advocate)