FEU’s big men ran circles around Adamson’s frontline late to rush to a 71-54 triumph and enter the semifinals of the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Prince Orizu, Arvin Tolentino and Richard Escoto took turns in punishing the Soaring Falcons’ late-rotating bigs to anchor a second-half breakaway and finish fourth after the double-round eliminations with a 7-7 record.
The Tamaraws’ trio actually outscored the entire Adamson squad, 24-22, in the second half, with Tolentino posting nine points and Orizu and Escoto adding eight and seven markers, respectively.
Four other FEU players finished with at least five points as they arrested a three-game losing skid and sneaked into the Final Four at the expense of UP, who finished with a 6-8 card.
Stressing getting into Final Four mode is important, coach Franz Pumaren was visibly displeased with how his wards fared against the desperate Tamaraws.
Rob Manalang led all scorers with 15 points, but shot a measly 6/16 while Papi Sarr had a nightmarish outing against Orizu and finished with 10 markers and seven rebounds — a far cry from his 25-point, 17-rebound performance just last week.
And while the loss is disappointing, making matters worse was the injury bug that bit both Jerrick Ahanmisi and Jerie Pingoy, who suffered ankle sprains in the first and fourth periods, respectively.