The Games That Play Us: Forward FEU

Jett Manuel and the UP Fighting Maroons were
neutralized by the FEU Tamaraws.


Anytime the FEU Tamaraws can pull out a win despite Terrence Romeo and RR Garcia shooting a combined 8-of-25 from the floor, Coach Bert Flores should heave a sigh of relief.

That’s especially true if their opponents are the UP Fighting Maroons.

Coach Ricky Dandan’s wards, again, played well enough to stick to the Tams, but, AGAIN, they just couldn’t close out. The Maroons took the lead on a Raul Soyud twinner, 63-62, with about 2:22, only to be frustrated by a 5-0 windup coming from their Morayta-based foes.

Mike Silungan had another double-digit output for UP. The one-time Ateneo hopeful scattered a dozen markers on 4-of-11 FG shooting, but, as in the previous game, he did most of his damage in the first half. Silungan scored just 2 points after halftime, underscoring the inconsistency UP has shown with alarming consistency this season. Alvin Padilla backstopped Silungan with 11 markers, but his field goal shooting was in its regular anemic state – 3-of-13, which translated to a 23% success rate. Silungan and Padilla also had a combined 7 turnovers – half of the team’s total.

Haaaay. What else can Coach Dandan, or any coach for that matter, do with this team? It seems like not even the extensive experience of Coach Ricky (he has coached at almost all levels of play, starting with the University of St. Lasalle from 1991-1997, the Manila Metrostars in the defunct MBA, and then as part of Coach Joe Lipa’s staff in Ateneo) has made a dent in this dismal program. Sorry, but that’s just brutal honesty. UP is the only school NOT to have tasted any Final Four action in the 2000s. The last time they barged into the UAAP postseason was back in 1997 when super shooter Paolo Mendoza was still the King Maroon.

Next season, both Silungan and Padilla (along with Mark Lopez, Mike Gamboa, Alinko Mbah, Robby Weirzba, Diony Hipolito, and Jelo Montecastro) will no longer don Iskos’ colors.

Yehey for UP! Finally, the era of Chris Ball, Henry Asilum, and Jett Manuel can begin. And, yeah, watch out for former Blue Eaglet Kyle Suarez. Hey, at least there’s a reason to look forward to next season, right?

As for looking forward, the Tamaraws finally get second spot again, and they are now looking forward to their final two games. Both will be tough, however, as the De La Salle Green Archers look to stay alive for a Final Four seat, and the NU Bulldogs want to completely obliterate all memory of their controversial second-round encounter.

If you’re an FEU fan, though, there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic. Based on the past two games, it’s clear that the offense doesn’t have to revolve around only guys who are named Romeo and Garcia. Others have stepped up.

I’ve long believed Anthony Hargrove should have a bigger role in the offense, simply because for a guy who shoots almost 51% from the field, just 6 FG attempts per game won’t cut it. Feed him the ball inside. Get him to his spots. He’ll add versatility and diversity to the Tams’ offense.

Another guy who can step up is Russel Escoto. It’s a pity his breakout stats in the game against NU were officially “forgotten,” but that should just make him even more eager to prove himself. I find it difficult to find any other CENTER who can mix it up inside and launch long toms as effectively and accurately as this kid.

The Tamaraw who has really embraced the spotlight, however, is Roger Pogoy. Pogoy is averaging just 6.1 points in 9 games this season, but look at his numbers in FEU’s four second-round wins – 14.8ppg and 10.0rpg, while shooting 66% from the field. WOW. No wonder nobody’s asking about Mike Tolomia.

If I may be so bold as to suggest something to Coach Bert Flores – sit Arvie Bringas. He did another ghastly thing by elbowing Diony Hipolito in this game. What can the Green & Gold expect from this kid aside from being a destructive distraction? Sayang.

Just stick with Pogoy, Hargrove, and Escoto up front and the Tams should be fine. The way things are shaping up, that’s the best way to move forward, FEU.

Alvin Padilla's last season with UP is bound
to end with a whimper.

Arvie Bringas is a time bomb waiting to explode.

The scores:

FEU 67 – Pogoy 16, Romeo 13, Garcia 11, belo 7, Hargrove 5, Escoto 4, Bringas M 4, Bringas A 3, Mendoza 2, Cruz 2, Inigo 0
UP 63 – Silungan 12, Padilla 11, Soyud 8, Monteclaro 7, Ball 6, Manuel 5, Lopez 4, Hipolito 3, Gamboa 3, Mbah 2, Asilum 2, Romeo 0, Gallarza 0
QS: 16-18, 34-34, 53-48, 67-63
Key Performances:
Roger Pogoy (FEU) – 16pts, 7rebs, 1stl
Anthony Hargrove (FEU) – 5pts, 12rebs, 1ast
Raul Soyud (UP) – 8pts, 5rebs, 1blk

All images are from the University Basketball League.
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