by Jerome Lagunzad
Manila, Philippines – On the lookout for a much needed offensive spark, Far Eastern University coach Olsen Racela got more than what he asked for yesterday.
Fil-Am guard Jasper Parker picked up the offensive cudgels down the stretch as the Tamaraws eliminated the University of the East Red Warriors 79-63 and boosted their Final Four drive in UAAP Season 80 basketball at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
With his family watching from ringside, Parker made sure he won’t disappoint as he tallied nine of his career-best 18 points in the final canto, serving as the catalyst in FEU’s finishing kick.
Cameroon big man Prince Orizu and forward Arvin Tolentino also came up big, combining for 24 points and 20 rebounds as the Tamaraws stopped a two-game losing skid and moved to solo fourth spot with a 6-6 mark.
“We really needed this win. This is a good confidence-booster for us going into the homestretch,” said Racela ahead of their crucial games against National University on Wednesday and Adamson on Saturday.
The Red Warriors, who led by seven at one point, ran out of steam in the crunch, falling to their 10th loss in 13 matches and kissing their playoff hopes goodbye.
Much of UE’s downfall has something to do with Parker, a transferee from Southwestern University who took charge during a murderous 21-7 attack over a five-minute stretch.
“It’s not about his scoring and he knows that. Bonus na lang ‘yun. It’s the way he orchestrates everything for us, the way he dictates the tempo in our favor,” said Racela.
Meanwhile, Adamson gave second-year coach Franz Pumaren the fine performance he badly wanted and the Soaring Falcons made it even more special last night.
With Cameroon big man Papi Sarr asserting his dominance down low, Adamson repeated over University of the Philippines, 86-70, and secured a Final Four ticket in the UAAP Season 80 basketball tournament.
FEU 79 – Parker 18, Orizu 14, Tolentino 10, Dennison 9, Trinidad 9, Cani 8, Tuffin 4, Escoto 3, Comboy 2, Bayquin 2, Inigo 0, Ebona 0, Ramirez 0.
UE 63 – Pasaol 18, Olayon 14, Maloles 8, Acuno 8, Manalang 7, Bartolome 4, Conner 4, Derige 0, Varilla 0, Cullar 0, Toribio 0, Abanto 0.
Quarters: 18-22, 29-33, 49-49, 79-63.
ADAMSON 86 – Sarr 25, Pingoy 15, Ahanmisi 11, Manalang 10, Espeleta 8, Manganti 5, Ochea 4, Hill 4, Camacho 4, Lojera 0, Mustre 0, Bernardo 0, Paranada 0.
UP 70 – Desiderio 20, Manzo 15, Gomez de Liano 10, Vito 6, Lim 4, Dario 3, Jaboneta 3, Webb 3, Ouattara 2, Romero 2, Lao 2, Harris 0, Prado 0.
Quarters: 18-17, 39-31, 69-50, 86-70.