POINT guard Louell Gonzales was in foul trouble in the first half and was of little use to the Far Eastern University Baby Tamaraws’ cause for most of the game.
But he made up for his bad situation in the fourth period, sinking crucial baskets that carried the FEU Baby Tamaraws to victory to grab the 79th University Athletic Association of the Philippines Junior Basketball crown following a two-game sweep of their best-of-three finals series.
The 5’10” Gonzales knocked in 10 of 12 points in the 10 minutes of the game to lead the Baby Tams to an 81-73 subduing of the defending champion National University Bullpups.
This allowed FEU to claim their first title in four years at the Arena in San Juan.
His triple and assist to Rhon Abarrientos in the last five minutes allowed FEU to remain ahead, 66-53.
After NU forced the game’s last tie, 65-all, off Daniel Atienza’s charities, the Baby Tams wrested the upperhand again.
This time with Abarrientos hitting a trey, and teammate Jack Gloria banging in a layup of Gonzales’ pass, 70-65.
After that Gonzales made sure that the Baby Tams will never let go of the lead with a jumper of teammate Kenji Roman’s screen with 2:35 left, 72-65.
His heroics earned Gonzales the finals MVP honors, while University of the Philippines Integrated School’s Juan Gomez de Liano took home the season MVP plum.
“Buti, nakabawi siya sa foul trouble. Hindi siya makapaglaro masyado ng first quarter, second quarter at third quarter. Nung fourth, tinanong ko ko coaching kung kaya pa dahil kailangan namin ng penetrator. Buti, naka-catch up,” said FEU coach Allan Albano.
Abarrientos, the nephew of retired PBA great Johnny Abarrientos drilled in 13 points the Baby Tams, who were slightly ahead, 51-50, at the end of the third.
John Clemente shot a game-high 26 points for the Bullpups, who enjoyed a 47-46 edge with 1:57.
In Game 1, the Baby Tamaraws pulled off a stunning 66-65 victory over the Bull pups.
Making it to the Mythical Five are de Liano, SJ Belangel and Dave Ildefonso of Ateneo, Clemente and Inand Fornillos of University of Santo Tomas. Fourteen-year-old Kai Sotto of Ateneo is the Rookie of the Year.