By: David Tristan Yumol
MANILA – The UP Fighting Maroons suffered another blow in their UAAP Season 77 campaign yesterday as they were humbled by the FEU Tamaraws, 71-85, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Power forward JR Gallarza led the Fighting Maroons with 18 points and seven rebounds while swingman Dave Moralde added 14 points. The Diliman-based cagers went down to a 0-4 start this season, their 25th straight loss dating back to Season 75.
Chris Tolomia led the charge for the Tamaraws, who scored 18 points with an exceptional 88 % shooting success. Team captain Mark Belo almost had a double-double as he tallied 12 points and nine boards as the Morayta-based dribblers improved their slate to 2-1.
“Our shots failed to connect in the third quarter. There were moments in the game that we can compete and maintain our momentum but we failed to sustain it towards the end,” Gallarza said.
The Tamaraws had a hot start in the early part of the first quarter as Tolomia scored the first ten points of their team. But the Maroons ran and stroke two triples courtesy of Gallarza, in the 8:23 and 5:27 mark, to grab the lead, 14-10.
Unfortunately, the Maroons cooled down at the end of the first canto as Roger Pogoy and import Anthony Hargrove of the Tamaraws sparked a 7-0 run to finish it with the lead, 28-21.
The second quarter had a same story as the first one with the Tamaraws firing all their shots in the early part, through the six straight points of team skipper Belo, to have a comfortable 34-24 lead.
Again, the Maroons resurged with Gallarza hitting two three-point shots and successful fastbreak plays by point guards Henry Asilum and Mikee Reyes, and Moralde to bring down the opponents’ lead to one, 38-39.
But then again, FEU flashed a 6-0 run in the last two minutes of the first half to have a seven-point lead at the end of it, 45-38.
Unluckily, the second half was a different story as the bench players of FEU, led by Carl Cruz, anchored a scoring rampage specifically in the third canto.
They limited UP to eight points as compared to their 25 points to hold a commanding 24-point lead after three quarters, 70-46.
The Nash Racela-mentored squad also outscored the Maroons in bench points during the game, 42-19.
UP made its final stand in the final quarter as they narrowed the lead of FEU to 14, with the shots of Gallarza, Asilum, and reserve Agustini Amar connected only at the last minutes of the game.
“I admit that what happened in the second half was a mistake on my part. I entered a new lineup that is not well matched with FEU that’s why we were left behind. We tried to catch up but we became hasty and lost already in the game,” Maroons chief tactician Rey Madrid said.
The Maroons will next face the UST Growling Tigers on Saturday, 2 PM, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
FEU 85 – Tolomia 18, Belo 12, Pogoy 11, Cruz 11, Hargrove 10, Dennison 7, Tamsi 4, Jose 4, Inigo 3, Denila 3, Delfinado 2.
UP 71 – Gallarza 18, Moralde 14, Lao 10, Juruena 8, Amar 7, Asilum 6, Gingerich 3, Vito 3, Reyes 2.