The Far Eastern University Tamaraws and the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers have proven in this encounter why they are UBelt’s mightiest rivals. Some people on Twitter dubbed this game as #BattleoftheBeasts #BattleofMoraytaEspana #BattleofYellowAndGold, and it did live up to these hashtags. Every time these two teams meet, a lot of epic things happen like three-point shootouts, double overtimes, and even marriage proposals.
Mac Belo Mike Tolomia Russel Escoto Anthony Hargrove
Kent Lao Karim Abdul Kevin Ferrer
Though FEU opened the season with a bang by drubbing La Salle, they failed to ride that momentum to another win as they were clawed by the Tigers, 67-69. Now, these teams have an identical 1-1 win-loss record.
|27/57 (47%)||28/69 (41%)|
|5/21 (24%)||6/18 (33%)|
|8/12 (67%)||7/10 (70%)|
Stats-wise, FEU should’ve had this game in the bag, though it was a pity that they let this slip away. In terms of shooting, the Tams were efficient making 27 of their 57 attempts. They also drained five three-pointers, two of which came from Russel Escoto who was flawless beyond the arc. FEU also shot well from the free throw area, hitting 67 percent. Though in a losing effort, they outrebounded UST by grabbing 41 boards compared to the latter’s 32. When it comes to assists and steals, FEU and UST were pretty matched up. It’s no suprise why the game was really intense. But the only flaw in FEU’s numbers were its turnovers. Sadly, the last few TOs they committed were during the crucial period of the game while the last one was by Achie Inigo that transitioned into a Kent Lao basket.
Reviewing the Keys to the Game
Pressure the shooters
Honestly, I found FEU’s defense disappointing. Though I said in my pregame that pressing UST’s shooters will help them get the W, it seemed that FEU’s shooters were the ones that were defended well. UST’s defenders never failed to double team whoever carried the ball. UST found a new three-point shooter in Kent Lao who was perfect from the rainbow area. The Tams’ defense failed to put a man on him until he dropped in two long bombs. Aljon Mariano, on the other hand, found himself struggling unlike Kevin Ferrer who woke up and torched the Tigers in their late quarter fightback.
Stop Karim Abdul
This game only proved that Karim Abdul is a lord in the shaded area. Most of his points came from putbacks and jumpers on the paint. On defense, he was an intimidating presence as he banged bodies with FEU’s bigs. I must say, it was really his day and he finally regained his pre-NU form.
In terms of scoring, FEU can really depend on Mac Belo and Mike Tolomia to deliver, but the two of them can’t take 100 percent of the scoring load on their shoulders. Russel Escoto once again proved his perimeter shooting and produced eight points, six of which were from his three pointers. Anthony Hargrove, who was really ganged up under the post, also contributed six points. Rookie Francis Tamsi made the most out of his minutes by scoring five markers. In a way, he also served as one of FEU’s bright spots.
Thoughts about the game
In my opinion, FEU’s loss wasn’t that painful since I expected a loss sooner rather than later. Like what other people said, it’s much better to lose this early than lose on the important ones in the end. Looking back, FEU suffered four defeats in the second round last season after blitzing to a 7-0 start, just to be trashed later on by La Salle in the Final Four. By the looks of how they performed, UST prepared a lot for this game. They gave FEU a good fight, and showed their doubters that they are, still, contenders. As a part of the crowd earlier, UST and FEU supporters really rocked the Big Dome. And yes, they proved that this Sunday’s doubleheader was definitely a #RivalryWeekend. Well, FEU must have learned a lot after this game. They still have a lot to work on. This will be a blessing in disguise as it allows the coaching staff to correct whatever mistake needs to be corrected before the standings get tighter.