Major, major upset
By Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) Updated August 29, 2010 12:00 AM Comments (
MANILA, Philippines - As promised by its coach, De La Salle bounced back strong from its setback to rival Ateneo, shaming pacesetting Far Eastern U, 80-66, yesterday in the UAAP Season 73 men’s basketball tourney at the Araneta Coliseum.
Simon Atkins shrugged off a nasty cut on his left eyebrow to fuel the second half breakaway for the Green Archers, who boosted their drive for the Final Four with their seventh win in 11 outings.
The semis-bound Tams dropped to 9-2 but remained on top of the heap, ahead of Adamson (8-3) and Ateneo (8-3), which dispute solo No. 2 and the second Final Four berth in a crucial matchup today at 4 p.m.
“The boys showed their character after that nightmare against Ateneo,” La Salle coach Dindo Pumaren said, referring to their 57-74 setback to their arch-rivals. “I saw their A-game today and all the boys played well.”
The key, according to Pumaren, was the rebound department, where La Salle had a 19-9 edge in the offensive board and a 45-32 margin overall.
Atkins suffered a cut after receiving an accidental elbow from FEU’s RR Garcia in the second canto and had to rush to the dugout to get stitched up. But he came back revitalized in the final half, pumping in 14 points, including 10 in a 20-8 windup that settled the outcome for La Salle.
“I didn’t want to let the team down so even if I was cut, I still rejoined them and fortunately had a good game,” said Atkins (19 points on three triples), who got 3-4 stitches to close the cut.
“We were really challenged by coach who told us that if we want to bounce back from that loss to Ateneo, we can bounce back strong by beating FEU, the No. 1 team in the UAAP.”
Atkins was supported by Luigi dela Paz (12), Jarelan Tampos (10) and Yutien Andrada (9).
FEU drew 18 points from Garcia, 14 from Aldrech Ramos and 11 from Terrence Romeo.
Earlier, University of Santo Tomas finally found the toughness in the endgame as it beat University of the Philippines, 68-66, in a battle of slumping teams.
The Tigers built an eight-point lead entering the final 1:23 then quashed the Maroons’ late uprising to arrest a five-game skid and improve to 4-7, their slim hopes of catching the last bus to the semis still alive.
“We’re really hungry for a win after losing our last five games. UP is still winless and it would be a big embarrassment if we lose to them,” said UST forward Aljon Mariano, whose triple fuelled a 12-0 salvo that put the Tigers ahead at 66-58.
UST coach Pido Jarencio said the Tigers were inspired by the recent setback of fourth-running La Salle to Ateneo. The Archers are up by three wins and the Tigers are hoping the former won’t reach eight wins so they can force a playoff for the fourth semis slot.
“That opened doors for us, showed us a flicker of light,” said Jarencio. “So I told the boys we should already start fixing our problems and hope to go up from the bottom to make it to the playoffs.”
The Tigers gained from back-to-back unsportsmanlik
e fouls from UP’s Magi Sison and Mark Juruena to score five unanswered points and take a 62-58 lead from a 57-58 deficit. Chris Camus stretched the margin to five with a split then following a series of missed treys from UP, UST made it a 66-58 count.
UP unleashed a final stand via Alvin Padilla’s basket and Mike Silungan’s triple with 22.2 seconds left but the Tigers plotted a well-spaced offensive pattern that allowed them to milk the clock before the Maroons could give up a foul.
Clark Bautista made one of his charities before Padilla hit a long three-pointer to make it 66-67, only 0.4 second remaining. Jeric Teng drew a foul as the buzzer sounded and accounted for the final score with a split.
“Finally, the boys showed composure down the stretch. That has been our problem in the last five games, we always lost in the last four minutes,” said Jarencio.