Baby Tamaraws near semis bonus

Kirby Mongcopa steps up to lead the FEU-D Baby Tamaraws to a 98-75 victory over the UST Cubs. Photo courtesy of UAAP

Far Eastern University-Diliman bucked the early departure of VJ Pre to repulse University of Santo Tomas, 98-75, to inch closer to the twice-to-beat incentive in the semifinals of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 high school boys’ basketball tournament on Wednesday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

Pre sprained his ankle in the opening minute and never returned.

His absence, however, hardly mattered as the Baby Tamaraws outscored the Tiger Cubs, 25-10, in the second period to erect a 53-32 halftime lead en route to the victory.

Kirby Mongcopa delivered 28 points, six rebounds, five steals and four assists to tow the Baby Tamaraws to their eighth win that puts them within striking distance from reigning champion Nazareth School of National University and Adamson University in the three-way race on top.

UST, which dropped to 4-6, failed to capitalize on the result of their first encounter that would have given them the solo fourth in the standings.

Earlier, University of the East weathered a De La Salle-Zobel fightback from 23 points down to fashion out a stunning 82-77 win and snap a four-game slide.

The Junior Archers have now lost two in a row and fell to 4-6.

Vhon Roldan scattered 17 of his 27 points in the first half and had nine rebounds and two steals to lead the Junior Warriors to their second win in 10 games to move up to seventh place.

A Laguna native who is in his final season, Roldan hopes to help his team to pick up more wins in the last four matches to build up something for next season.

The Junior Archers rallied from a 28-51 deficit to move within 77-81 on a Rhyle Melencio dunk and a Kieffer Alas triple, but the Junior Warriors were able to hold on, with Roldan’s split from the foul line in the final 13 seconds enough to seal the deal.

JP Pangilinan had 29 points, eight boards, five steals, and two assists while Charles Bucsit was the other EU player in double digits with 11 points.

Melencio put up massive numbers of 26 points and 20 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the tournament and had five blocks while Alas chipped in 22 points, seven boards, and four assists for the Junior Archers.

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