- July 19, 2021 11:01
The Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws went toe-to-toe against last season’s runner-ups the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons in their opening game of the 82nd season of University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament, 55-61, last September 4 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
FEU’s L-Jay Gonzales led the charge for the Tamaraws with eight points, seven rebounds, and six assists. Patrick Tchuente also chipped in with an almost double-double performance of eight points and 14 rebounds.
Both teams were grit-and-grind for the ball defense in the first frame. But UP pulled away in the midway of the second quarter and pumped up their lead up to 12 points, 22-34.
Midway to third canto, the Tamaraws went on a scoring run, charging back with a 17-7 surge to cut the lead to one, 44-45. However, coming into last quarter, Maroons still had the momentum and FEU kept it close until they were able to tie the game at 55-apiece in the last two minutes.
Despite the loss, FEU head coach Olsen Racela told his team to keep their heads up and look forward to the next game. He was delighted that they gave a good challenge against the Fighting Maroons.
“We went toe-to-toe against one of the best teams this season. So ayun ‘yung sinabi ko sa kanila (So that is what I said to them), keep their heads up and move on to the next game. But if we played like this, every game against all of the other teams, we’ll surprise a lot of people,” Racela said.
Moreover, FEU skipper Kenneth Tuffin said that their games will not be about one-man games but a collective effort from his teammates to win this season.
“It’s a great responsibility, but again it doesn’t change anything. I already talked about collective leadership, and it’s not just gonna be me stepping up every game–it’s gonna take collective effort. That’s how we’re going to battle some games,” Tuffin said.
The Morayta-based squad shall next face the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors on Sunday, September 8 at the same venue.
-Joaquin Luis E. Quesada
(See full album: UAAP 82 Men's Basketball - FEU vs UP)