ATENEO GYM, Quezon City, July 21 2003 By Joey Villar (Star) With its defense holding, Far Eastern U demolished National U, 71-49, yesterday to seize the solo lead with three straight victories in the early going of the 66th UAAP basketball tournament at the Blue Eagle gym in Quezon City.

The Tams tamed the Bulldogs with their suffocating defense all game long and held their victim to a league-low output en route to their third win in a row that further underscored their readiness to vie for the crown.

After two failed tries, Ateneo finally scored a 69-65 victory over University of Santo Tomas in the other varsity game.

Larry Fonacier scored 18 points but it was the pair of LA Tenorio and Paolo Bugia who delivered the goods when the chips were down.

Arwind Santos, Gerard Jones, Don Yabut, Mark Isip and James Razon took turns in taking the starch out of prolific Bulldog Rey Mendoza, who was limited to just a field goal and two foul shots after averaging 22.5 points in their first two games.

"The statistics donít lie. We know heís the best scorer before this game so we concentrated our defense on him," said FEU coach Coy Banal. "Iím just happy and glad that we managed to contain him."

On a day the Tams missed 44 of the 69 shots they took and turned the ball 26 times, FEU put its focus on defense as it held NU to 31 points in the first three quarters before cruising to the victory.

With Mendoza shackled and veteran guard Froilan Baguion struggling in offense, the Bulldogs, who averaged 75 points before the game, only converted 15 of their 57 attempts.

NU also struggled on the line, muffing 14 of the 28 foul attempts, half of them from Mendoza and Baguion.

Jones was the lead man in offense as he finished with 11 points while Santos, last yearís Rookie of the Year awardee, dished out a fine defensive game with 13 rebounds while scoring 10 points. He also had two steals and the same number of assists.

It was NUís second defeat in three outings, the same card by the Tigers.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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