MANILA, Philippines - It wasn't pretty, nor was it the typical performance many have come to expect from the team, but Far Eastern University got the job done anyway.
The FEU Tamaraws won their first of two games without Head Coach Nash Racela, beating the pesky UP Fighting Maroons, 75-69, on Saturday afternoon, August 30, at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Mike Tolomia had 19 points and 5 rebounds, while Mac Belo finished with 14 markers and 7 rebounds in the victory for FEU, which also received 11 points and 3 rebounds from Anthony Hargrove and 8 points and 10 assists from Achie Inigo.
Coach Racela, who is currently in Spain with Gilas Pilipinas for the 2014 FIBA World Cup, was temporarily replaced by Assistant Coach Eric Gonzales, who will also fill in for the team's upcoming game against the Adamson Soaring Falcons.
UP, on the other hand, was spearheaded by JR Gallarza's 18 points and 5 rebounds, and Mikee Reyes' 14 markers and 4 assists.
Thanks to the victory, FEU improves to a league-best 9-2 in the men's basketball tournament of the UAAP's 77th season, while UP drops to 1-10, having lost their fourth straight game.
After UP took a 60-58 lead with a little over halfway to go in the fourth quarter, FEU managed to go on a 10-4 run, capped of by a Belo fastbreak layup, to build a four-point lead with 3:25 remaining.
However, the Fighting Maroons did not go down without a fight, using a tandem of free throws by Reyes and a 3-ball by Diego Dario to go up by one, before an Inigo triple put his squad back ahead, 71-69. Not long after, Belo hit a mid-range J to extend the lead to four.
With 35 seconds to go, UP failed to convert on their end of the floor on the prior possession and was left with no choice but to foul Inigo, who calmly sank both charities and put his team on top by six, 75-69.
The Tamaraws would hold on to their lead the rest of the way and win their ninth game.
The Tamaraws coughed up the ball 19 times, leading to 13 easy Fighting Maroon points. FEU, however, pulled down more rebounds, 50-38, and shot better from the field, 43%-32%. - Rappler.com