After the impressive showing of UP Fighting Maroons in a losing effort against Ateneo, more people are now hoping that a victory will come sooner rather than later for them. Entering into this match, the UP Maroons are sniffing a wounded prey as the FEU Tamaraws are coming off a narrow defeat to UST Growling Tigers. Could this be the game that we have been waiting for some time now? Could the FEU Tamaraws be the opponent that will finally halt this long victory drought of the Fighting Maroons?


Associate Supreme Court justice and UP alumnus Marvic Leonen came up with a profound analogy for a UP win. (Photo Credit: “nowhere to go but UP” Facebook page)

Keys to the Game

Avoid third quarter blues

In the first three games, it’s in the third quarter, without a doubt, where UP got crushed a la Oberyn Martell as opponents have outscored them by an average of eight points in this juncture. While they managed to make a furious chase after Ateneo unleashed a huge run in the third quarter, they cannot and should not do this every single time. It’s a habit that they should avoid at all costs.

Force turnovers

Surprisingly, UP’s opponents this season are committing 22.6 turnovers per 100 possessions, which is second best to UST’s 27.6. FEU, on the other hand, is the second most turnover prone team so far with 24.2 per 100, behind only to UST (again) with 24.9. In order to boost UP’s chances of winning, they must continue forcing turnovers. We have witnessed how pesky Mikee Reyes and Dave Moralde can be as one-on-one defenders. Their penchant for stealing the ball, which could lead to fastbreak opportunities, could be beneficial as FEU’s backcourt has been a vast source of turnovers this season.

FEU Individual TOV%

Roger Pogoy


Mac Belo


Mike Tolomia


The battle for rebounds…again

Season 77 Stats ORB% DRB% TRB%


23.0 52.2 36.8


36.9 60.5 50.0

After dismal efforts in crashing the boards against UE and NU, UP came up with better rebounding numbers against Ateneo as they wound up with rebounding splits of 32/53/43. While the improvement in the numbers can be attributed mostly to the lack of ceiling and intimidation in Ateneo’s frontline, we cannot shortchanged the tremendous efforts displayed by the likes of Mark Juruena and JR Gallarza.

JR Gallarza (Photo Credit: Mark Cristino, Pinoy Exchange)

UP will be relying on their bigs like JR Gallarza to crash for the rebounds against FEU. (Photo Credit: Mark Cristino, Pinoy Exchange)


This game features the two worst offensive rebounding teams so far this season, which means the battle for boards is wide open and does not favor either side. After all, FEU does not have a supreme rebounder this season aside from Russel Escoto who is currently sporting an astronomical PER of 42.8 (for purposes of comparison, Bobby Ray Parks’ league-leading PER last season is 28.8). Mac Belo’s rebounding numbers are down from last year while center Anthony Hargrove is posting career lows in majority of the stats this season.

FEU Top Rebounders Minutes per game ORB% DRB% TRB%

Russel Escoto

29.7 12.4 16.6 14.8

Mac Belo

26.4 7.0 13.1 10.4

Anthony Hargrove

21.8 8.5 9.0 8.8

UP Top Rebounders Minutes per game ORB% DRB% TRB%

Mark Juruena

32.2 9.5 13.7 11.4

JR Gallarza

28.0 5.7 16.5 10.8

Gelo Vito

15.7 8.1 11.3 9.6


Pardon me for I am pulling a homer this time around. In my season preview, I projected that UP will get to three wins, same as coach Rey Madrid’s guarantee. If they can sustain the good run they were able to display against Ateneo, then FEU should be wary. If Kyles Lao could score from his relentless drives to the basket, if Dave Moralde could knock down the corner threes and if Juruena could channel the inner Joakim Noah in him with his passing ability, then UP are in good position to take this one. All of these are not are far from impossibility considering the matchups being presented to them.

At the end of this game, the UP community will be in festive mood as I reckon the Fighting Maroons will finally snag their first W of the season and their first in the last 25 UAAP games. A victory is long overdue for this team — very long indeed, closing in to two years in the making.

View from the Enemy: FEU Tamaraws

Featured Image courtesy of Marlon Nombrado, Tinig ng Plaridel