THE character of the defending champion Far Eastern University Tamaraws was tested after they pulled off a 67-59 triumph over the University of the East Warriors last Sunday.
Two of their key plays, Wendell Comboy and Richard Escoto, allowed other scorers and wingmen like Monbert Arong, Alejandro Inigo and Raymar Jose to come forward and step up.
The efforts of guys like Arong, Inigo and Jose keyed the Tams’ second win in four games in the 79th University Athletic Association of the Philippines men’s basketball tournament.
Comboy, who poured in a season’s best 20 points for the Tamaraws when they bowed to the Ateneo Blue Eagles, 71-76, was not allowed to play by his doctor after sustaining a concussion in practice. The 6-foot Comboy, who came from the high school team, hit his head on the floor following a bad fall during practice.
Escoto, on the other hand, sat out their game with UE because of back spasms.
“It’s a test of character for us. Having to recover from that loss to Ateneo, it was tough for us,” said FEU coach Nash Racela.
During the game Arong led with 16 points, while Inigo tallied 12 for the Tams.
The Red Warriors made efforts to stay in the fight and threatened, 59-62, in last two minutes.
But they lost possession and their composure when Wil Bartolome elbowed Ron Dennison. The disqualifying foul he got awarded two free throws plus ball possession to FEU.
Jojo Trinidad converted his freebies and Arong’s short stab allowed FEU to move away.