FEU clamps MVP Figueroa, clinches finals slot vs unbeaten NU
MANILA, Philippines – The FEU-Diliman Baby Tamaraws flexed their defensive prowess in the UAAP Season 82 boys' basketball stepladder semifinals as they eliminated the Adamson Baby Falcons, 78-65, on Friday, February 28.
Penny Estacio led the young Tamaraw squad with 18 markers, 4 boards, 4 assists and 2 steals as FEU clinched a finals berth against the undefeated Nazareth-NU Bullpups.
Meanwhile, Adamson's rookie MVP Jake Figueroa was neutralized by the towering FEU frontline as he finished with 11 points and 7 rebounds on just a 1-of-6 shooting with 9-of-10 free throws.
Streaky scorer John Erolon also went ice-cold as he finished with just 7 points on a horrendous 1-of-12 clip and 1-of-10 from three-point land.
After a closely-fought 1st quarter, Estacio capped the Baby Tams' game-defining 11-0 breakaway in the 2nd period with back-to-back layups for the sudden 15-point lead, 43-28.
Although the Baby Falcons kept it close in the final frame with a Joshua Barcelona tip-in at the 6:23 mark, FEU's smothering defense held Adamson scoreless for the next 4:32.
This endgame clamp-down essentially sealed the deal as FEU still led by 16, 72-56, before Shefrazkhan Abdulla broke the Falcons' drought with 1:51 left off a corner trey.
Mark Padrones backstopped Estacio's efforts with 14 points off the bench while Barcelona led Adamson in the losing cause with a 12-marker, 12-board double-double.
Game 1 of the finals will be on Friday, March 6, as FEU tries to stop NU's relentless 22-game winning streak dating back to last season.
FEU-D 78 – Estacio 18, Padrones 14, Bautista 11, Anonuevo 9, Pasaol 8, Bagunu 6, Sleat 6, Saldua 5, Libago 1, Remogat 0.
Adamson 65 – Barcelona 12, Figueroa 11, Quinal 10, Abdulla 8, Erolon 7, Guarino 5, Cosal 4, Dominguez 4, Hanapi 4.
Quarters: 24-17, 43-31, 62-51, 78-65.