SAN JUAN City – After losing its stars to graduation, reigning UAAP champion Far Eastern University will now be identified through its defense. The Tamaraws defense was the key as they clamped down on the College of Saint Benilde Blazers, 64-55, in continuing action from the 2016 FilOil Flying V Premier Cup Sunday (May 29) at the San Juan Arena.
With FEU ahead, 43-38, the Blazers opened the final canto with a dunk by Yankee Haruna followed by back-to-back triples from JJ Domingo and Alfonso Saavedra to seize back the lead, 46-43. Acting head coach Eric Gonzales then settled down his players and they responded with a crucial 11-2 run that put the Tamaraws on top for good, 54-48, and 3:35 on the clock.
More triples from Wendell Comboy and Brandrey Bienes gave FEU valuable breathing room until Prince Orizu scored underneath to give them a double-digit margin at the 31-second mark, 62-52. A triple from CSB’s Carlo Young countered by free throws from Joe Trinidad settled the final count.
Orizu paced the Tamaraws with 12 points and 10 rebounds as they rose to 3-3 and stay in contention for a playoff slot. Richard Escoto also had 12 points to go with six rebounds.
Christian Fajarito, who spent his high school days at FEU, topped the Blazers with 10 points and nine rebounds. Saavedra and Clement Leutcheu also had 10 markers for CSB as they joined Emilio Aguinaldo College in the Group A cellar with similar 1-5 win-loss cards.
FEU played without head coach Nash Racela who was in Thailand together with player Raymar Jose for national team duties at the SEABA Cup.
How They Scored:
FAR EASTERN (64) – Orizu 12, Escoto 12, Trinidad 9, Comboy 9, Bienes 5, Ebona 4, Arong 4, Nunag 4, de los Santos 3, S. Holmqvist 2, Lee Yu 0, Tuffin 0, Delfinado 0, Inigo 0.
SAINT BENILDE (55) – Leutcheu 10, Fajarito 10, Saavedra 10, Young 9, Haruna 5, JJ Domingo 3, Pajarillaga 2, Sta. Maria 2, Belgica 2, Pasamante 1, JS Domingo 1, Suarez 0, Dixon 0, San Juan 0.
Period Scores: 8-13, 26-23, 43-38, 64-55.