FEU Tamaraws def. UP Fighting Maroons 89-73
Prince Orizu (15 points, 7 rebounds and an insane 100% field goal percentage)
If there is a Perfect Player of the Game, it would have been given to Prince Orizu who went on a tear canning 7-of-7 from the field. And when FEU zoomed ahead for good in the first quarter, Orizu knocked in 9 of the Tamaraws’ 25 points to pull away for good. The well-orchestrated defense shackled UP’s Bright Akhuetie to no end with Orizu providing that effective close-out to limit Akhuetie to only 2 points in 3 quarters.
And when Bright went to town grabbing 8 rebounds in the first half, Orizu limited Akhuetie to only 3 caroms in the entire second half.
Arvin Tolentino, FEU (13 quiet points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 100% 3-point field goal percentage, +23)
Quiet Arvin became the stabilizer and an instrument of FEU’s suddenly fluid offense. And as UP seemed to be getting hot running off with a 10-0 run in the 3rdquarter, Tolentino’ presence and flawless spot up jumpers enabled FEU to sustain the lead.
Wendell Comboy, FEU (12 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists)
The main man in running creating havoc for by tending the FEU backcourt with precision, Comboybeing a constant threat from long distance plus his unselfish play triggered the smooth Tamaraw offense. Comboy was a +16 especially in the first quarter when FEU gored UP to early submission.
The Escoto – Ebona – Tuffin Rotation
Bright Akhuetie will be seeing these three guys in his dreams as everywhere Bright turned, these FEU bigs made sure there was no daylight. Leaving Orizu as the close-out option, Akhuetie was limited to a single field goal in the first three quarters and virtually forced the UP import to 1-of-8 in the deciding first half. To add to the woes of Akhuetie, the thick defensive concentration on Akhuetie limited him to only 3 boards in the final half.
Javi Gomez De Liano, UP (15 points, 66% 3-point percentage, 3 rebounds)
The elder De Liano came to play today and he was the only Maroon who fought to a +/- 0 for his entire 24 minutes exposure. Banging bodies inside the paint and constantly being left open by FEU’s defense, Javi made the most out of it by sniping those long shots and driving hard to the hole.
- FEU was more than ready to eclipse Bright Akhuetie. As FEU coach Olsen Racela phrased it perfectly, Akhuetie is a difficult assignment. “He (Akhuetie) has developed into a multi-dimensional player. He can pass well now which means a single coverage will never be enough” Racela said during the post-game press conference. The frontline rotation smothered Akhuetie and choked other UP options who cannot find their mark from the outside.
- The Tamaraws were not only ready defensively, but their offense seemed to have found an explosive fluidity. Using quick ball movement, FEU found a ton of open shots and mismatches which were capitalized by FEU import Orizu.
- If FEU was ready, UP was not. UP never recovered from the opening FEU attack which ripped the game open shortly after tip-off 8-0 and never looked back. Inability to adjust and provide space for Akhuetie to explode was the main culprit of this unexpected blow-out.
- Outside of Juan Gomez De Liano and Bright Akhuetie, the Fighting Maroons found limited options and once the bench came in, talents tilted in the Tamaraws’ favor. The FEU bench outscored the UP second stringers by 45-28.