PRE-SEASON favorite Far Eastern University rebounded from a heartbreaking upset to Adamson last week to defeat University of the East Sunday in overtime, 83-77, at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

MANILA. Far Eastern University listed its eighth win against a loss Sunday in the 73rd UAAP men’s basketball tournament. (Virgil Lopez)

Reil Cervantes, who is celebrating his birthday today, came big for the Tamaraws in the extended five-minute period by knocking in four points to put FEU at a comfortable, 80-74, with 1:43 left.

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The Bicolano standout also teamed up with prized rookie Terrence Romeo, ace guard Ryan Roose Garcia and Chris Exciminiano who combined for 10 markers for FEU’s demolition of the determined Red Warriors.

FEU improved to 8-1 (win-loss card) while UE was stuck in seventh place at 2-7 in the 73rd men’s basketball season of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP).

UE could have listed their third win this season if not for the missed drive of fifth year Raffy Reyes (72-all) with six ticks in regulation, who cried to his knees after the nail biting setback.

The win, however, failed to elicit cheers from sixth year mentor Glenn Capacio, who expressed disappointment over the three referees for “poor officiating.”

“The game should have been finished in the second quarter if not for the bad calls. Everybody has seen the wrong calls made by the referees. I am very sorry for my players because they have done their best efforts, they have prepared so much for this season and yet you have referees who wanted to destroy the good reputation of this league?,” he told reporters.

Capacio said he has not yet reported the incident to FEU president and team manager Anton Montinola, who is a consistent figure in the Tamaraws bench.

Cervantes also took notice of the supposed bad calls while asking the league officials concerned to address the problem.

Garcia topscored for FEU with 23 points, five rebounds and a block while Cervantes and Smart Gilas member Aldrech Ramos added 19 and 13 markers, respectively.

2007 top rookie and Cagayan de Oro native JR Cawaling made eight points, three rebounds and one assist, who celebrated his 23rd birthday on Sunday.

“We hope that we can sustain this winning effort. We have no time to relax,” said Garcia, who is leading the race for the Most Valuable Player plum after the first round.

Sophomore Kenneth Acibar bannered the Red Warriors with 18 points, including a near perfect (12-of-13) free- throw shooting while Paul Zamar also listed 18 markers.

Acibar also grabbed 20 boards, the most rebounds made since the twilight year of former league MVP Jervy Cruz, who converted 23 rebounds in a losing effort to UE last August 31, 2008.

Falcons in double OT

In the other duel, Adamson University needed two overtimes to upend gritty University of Santo Tomas, 81-76.

Down by three in the dying seconds, veteran Janus Lozada lifted the Soaring Falcons from an imminent loss when he sank a triple with 3.8 ticks left to force a second five-minute extension to the delight of Adamson fans, 70-70.

The Soaring Falcons then went steadier in the last five minutes, setting off a three-point play from American recruit William Stinnett and Jan Colina, who unloaded four of his six-point output down the stretch.

Defensive stops of Adamson pushed the Growling Tigers to the sidelines as Roider Cabrera split his charities off a Carmelo Afuang foul with Colina scoring for the lost ball to end the two-and-a-half hour contest.

The win solidified Adamson’s bid for a place in the illustrious Final Four, which was last clinched by a Ken Bono-led squad in 2006.

“Well it’s really hard to win this contest but in this game, our biggest enemy is complacency because after listing big games against La Salle and FEU (Far Eastern University), there is a tendency to relax. I told my boys after the FEU game to work harder in practice but I think I was wrong on that note because they were obviously tired,” said mentor Leo Austria.

“However, we are fortunate that during the overtime, the boys did not give up, which is good because this is something that we really need in time for the playoffs, he added.

Lozada posted a career-high 19 points, five rebounds, two steals and one assist for Adamson while Chris Camus paced the Tigers with impressive 17 markers and 14 boards.

Adamson now totes a 7-2 (win-loss) card at solo second while UST suffered its fourth straight loss to end at sixth place (3-6).

Games Thursday (Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City)

2 p.m. – UP vs. La Salle

4 p.m. – Ateneo vs. NU

Team Standings

FEU - 8-1

Adamson - 7-2

Ateneo - 6-2

La Salle - 5-3

NU- 3-5

UST 3-6

UE 2-7

UP 0-8

(Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)