UP survives FEU in OT thriller to extend undefeated UAAP streak to four wins

Four wins without a loss. What a dominant start for UP (The UAAP Facebook)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons needed an extra five-minute period to repel the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws, 80-76, and maintained their perfect record in the ongoing UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament last October 11, 2023.

It was another heartbreaking loss for the Tamaraws as they are still winless in their hoops campaign this UAAP Season 86.

After four nip-and-tuck quarters, both squads battled it out in the last two minutes of the ball game with FEU tying the score at 68-all off a Jorick Bautista three-pointer with 30 seconds left.

UP had the chance to retake the lead but a Harold Alarcon miss from the perimeter gave FEU the opportunity for the final shot and win the game.

However, an unfortunate turnover cost them the game as Miguel Ona fumbled his pass to James Tempra who was open from the top of the key.

After the referees reviewed and sent the official time back to 1.7 seconds, the Fighting Maroons thought they already won the game when LeBron Lopez buried a tough fade-away jumper from the right baseline.

It was then waived off after the referees found out that Malick Diouf touched the leather when it was on its way inside the rim and whistled for the kickoff of the overtime period.

The Tamaraws picked up where they left off after starting the overtime with a trifecta from Royce Alforque that gave FEU the 68-71 advantage.

However, UP’s deep bench sparked their run in the last three minutes of action as late replacements Reyland Torres and Jan Felicilda cashed in much-needed buckets to help the Fighting Maroons take a 77-73 lead.

Bautista answered the call for the Tamaraws after helping them trim their deficit to just a point, 77-76, when he converted a trey with only 31 seconds left in the game.

FEU then failed to score again while the duo of CJ Cansino and Felicilda joined hands to score the final three points for the Fighting Maroons.

Felicilda had his best game of Season 86 so far, dropping an impressive 17-point performance alongside four rebounds and two assists.

Meanwhile, Cansino chipped in 14 markers while reigning UAAP MVP Diouf contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds.