Photo by Keith Magcaling

Text by Selina Jo Paredes

After a morale-boosting victory against defending champions De La Salle University, the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons sputtered against the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws, 59-78, today at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

State U’s offense fell quiet as FEU posted them to their season low in scoring and pushed their winning streak against the Maroons to 12, dating back to the second round of Season 74 of the UAAP.

UP opened the first frame by taking the early lead off a Juan Gomez De Liaño three-pointer, but Ron Dennison and Richard Escoto were quick to score back-to-back baskets to give FEU a one-point advantage, 4-3.

Paul Desiderio answered with a triple to give UP their second and final lead throughout the game as the Tamaraws continued to hound the Maroons with their relentless defense and ended the first up by 4, 14-18.

Come second frame, FEU was quick to take advantage of the hole in UP’s defense as they scored six unanswered points early in the quarter.

Late in the second, Desiderio scored what would be his last bucket of the game. At the end of the first half, the Diliman squad found themselves down by 16.

The Tamaraws scored by committee early in the third with all players on the floor contributing a basket to further widen their lead, momentum briefly switched to the Maroons side late in the frame, as they made a 7-0 run and held FEU to just 56 points.

Despite cutting the deficit to 10, UP’s offense froze in the fourth as they were unable to hold off the Tamaraws that bolted a 16-0 run.

With less than 90 seconds left in the game, the Maroons sparked an 8-0 run which could only trim FEU’s lead to 19 points. At the final minute of the game, Maroon small forward Noah Webb went down with an apparent ankle sprain.

State U’s backcourt consisting of Team Captain Desiderio and rookie Jun Manzo had a rough outing, scoring a mere 13 points combined.

“Ineexpect ko na talaga na, grabe, halos di na ko makatanggap ng bola sa struggle, titira ako may tao na talaga.” Desiderio said on his off-game.

On how they’re going to bounce back next game, head coach Bo Perasol said, “We have to cut short our lamentations and focus on the next game kasi what’s important is we cannot get pulled down by our emotions.”

Big man Ibrahim Ouattara set his career-high of 17 points and was active around the rim to secure 13 boards to package the double-double alongside the career-high effort of Juan Gomez De Liaño with 16 points to serve as bright spots for the Diliman squad’s offense

Tamaraws Dennison and Escoto led the way for FEU with 16 and 12 points, respectively.

The UP Fighting Maroons are looking to bounce-back against Jerrick Ahanmisi and the Adamson Soaring Falcons at The Big Dome this Wednesday, Oct.4.

Webb will be unable to play on Wednesday’s game.


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