Defending champion Far Eastern U continued its winning run at the expense of free-falling University of Santo Tomas on Wednesday night, carving out a wire-to-wire 59-48 victory—its sixth straight—in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tourney at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Guard Jojo Trinidad tallied a team-high while skipper Raymar Jose registered a near double-double performance of nine points and 14 rebounds as the Tamaraws sustained their mastery over the struggling Growling Tigers and claimed their seventh win in nine starts.
The win kept FEU at second spot behind powerhouse La Salle (8-0).
While the Tamaraws sent the Growling Tigers down the cellar with a fifth straight setback and a 2-7 mark overall, FEU coach Nash Racela was far from satisfied, feeling his wards are starting to show alarming signs of complacency.
“I think at this stage of the tournament, we should be concerned about our improvements as a team. My concern is us believing we’re already a good team because we’ve been winning. Baka magkaroon ng complacency on our part,” he stressed.
“Kasi the whole game, I kept on reminding them to play hard and play correctly. As a coach, when you see those things, that’s a sign of complacency. We always remind the players ‘yung mga ganitong games for us to work on a lot of things na kailangan naming ayusin. Today wasn’t really that nice.”
The Tamaraws led by as many as 13 points but still needed one late push to pull away from the Growling Tigers, who pulled within 45-50 off a Jeepy Faundo bucket with a little over three minutes to play.
As convincing the victory was based on the final tally, Racela wasn’t pleased at all.
“My question for them during the halftime: ’What is your objective for today’s game? Do you want to be ahead of the other team or do you want to be your best today? Those were my challenges to them,” he said. “I don’t know if I got the answer.”
UST star Louie Vigil led all scorers with 18 points while Faundo tallied a double-double of 10 markers and 17 rebounds but they still could not prevent the Growling Tigers from absorbing yet another tough loss. – Jerome Lagunzad
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FEU (59) – Trinidad 16, Jose 9, Comboy 8, Escoto 8, Holmqvist 6, Orizu 4, Bayquin 3, Dennison 3, Arong 2, Denila 0, Ebona 0, Roxas 0, Tuffin 0.
UST (48) – Vigil 18, Lee 12, Faundo 10, Afoakwah 2, Arana 2, Subido 2, Sheriff 2, De Guzman 0, Huang 0, Lao 0, Macasaet 0.