UP ends FEU’s Final 4 hopes

Basketball.
Basketball.Basketball (File Photo)

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons dashed the Far Eastern University Tamaraws’ Final Four aspirations in the UAAP Season 86 after winning, 81-64, on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Fighting Maroons rose to 10-2 to remain on top of the table and boost their hopes of getting a playoff advantage in the semifinals.

The Tamaraws, on the other hand, are now eliminated from Final Four contention for the second straight season since the highest they can reach is five wins while one of the Ateneo Blue Eagles and Adamson Soaring Falcons — who will play each other on Sunday — will reach six wins already.

“I feel blessed,” said Sean Aldous Toculas, a second-year UPIS alumnus who led UP with 13 points, five rebounds, and two assists. “I’m just being patient, lalo na yung team.

“I’m just doing my role in the team. Actually, yun lang yung role ko sa team. I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing. So, one game at a time,” the 6-foot-4 forward continued.

Fighting Maroons head coach Goldwin Monteverde fielded all 15 of his student-athletes with none clocking more than 21 minutes.

From a slim 50-41 lead late in the third quarter, Francis Lopez and Chicco Briones connived to give UP a 60-45 cushion with 49 seconds left in the period.

JD Cagulangan, CJ Cansino, and Briones then kept the pressure on the Tamaraws to give the Maroons their biggest lead at 66-47 early in the fourth quarter.

Lopez followed Torculas’ lead with 12 points, nine rebounds, and four assists, while Harold Alarcon contributed 11 points for UP.

The Tamaraws fell to 3-9.

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