Mendoza: FEU’s test of character up vs. De La Salle

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By Al S. Mendoza

All Write

Monday, September 24, 2012

LOOK where Far Eastern University is now. When it should already have clinched a Final 4 slot, it now still needs to go through a knockout.

That’s because National University defeated FEU in an 84-81 overtime UAAP thriller on Sunday at the packed-to-the-rafters Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

As a result, FEU goes to battle again on Wednesday (Sept. 26) against De La Salle for the fourth and last ticket to the tournament’s Final 4.


Ateneo and University of Sto. Tomas, being the 1-2 finishers, respectively, in the double-round eliminations, had secured twice-to-beat incentives. Ateneo is tops at 10-2, win-loss card, and UST second at 10-4.

NU’s Sunday victory over FEU sealed a tie for third place among NU, FEU and De La Salle with identical 9-5 cards.

Lady Luck had smiled at NU as it produced the better quotient in the tiebreak, allowing the Bulldogs to automatically advance to third.

NU’s luck was triggered by its victory at the boardroom when the UAAP board nullified FEU’s 77-75 win over NU on Sept. 2.

The Board upheld a technical committee ruling overturning UAAP Commissioner’s Ato Badolato’s decision to uphold the referees’ call to count as good Tam RR Garcia’s lay-up at the buzzer for that 77-75 FEU squeaker of a win.

That’s all water under the bridge now, so to speak, and the task at hand for FEU is to deflect La Salle’s upset dreams on Wednesday.

After forcing an overtime in the Sunday replay, the Tamaraws had appeared set to defeat the Bulldogs when they stormed to a 79-73 margin with barely two minutes left.

But two straight threes capped by Ray Parks’ triple atop the key tied the game at 79.

Ray’s three was a dagger-at-the-heart as Parks, the 2011 MVP, was scoreless in the fourth quarter.

Stunned, FEU never recovered.

Back-to-back losses at the boardroom and the hard court are what FEU needs to overcome in its knockout match versus La Salle.

Both are spirit-shattering, to say the least.

Stigmas are made of these.

Will FEU survive?

It is usually against this kind of backdrop that a team’s character is truly defined.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 25, 2012.


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