MANILA, NOVEMBER 18, 2003  (MALAYA) Far Eastern U started strong but flirted with disaster towards the end before pulling off a 69-61 win over Las Piņas College yesterday in the Champion's League Sweet 16 at the FEU gym.

Inspired by the home crowd, the Tamaraws jumped to an early 10-1 lead. But the stubborn Huskies cashed in on their opponents' early penalty situation to trim the gap at 21-17.

The vaunted FEU defense limited LPC to only seven points in the second period while RJ Rizada and Rhagnee Sincop combined for 10 in the sam stretch to give their team a 38-24 lead at the turn.

But the Tamaraws came out flat in the third, allowing the Huskies to come within 48-52 entering the final frame.

"We played complacent ball. Gusto yata ng mga bata na maging perfect host," said FEU coach Koy Banal.

A basket by Dennis Daa, the burly 6-4 one-man wrecking crew of LPC, had his team closing in 53-55, seven minutes to go.

The Tamaraws recovered just in time, scoring the next nine points to restore a double-digit spread and they were never seriously threatened the rest of the way.

Dennis Miranda and Rizada paced the Tamaraws with 15 points a piece while UAAP Final MVP Arwind Santos added 10 and 12 rebounds. Daa was the lone Husky in double figures with a tournament-best 27 points.

With the win, the reigning UAAP champion set a Round of Eight meeting with NCAA king Letran College.

The University of the East and the Holy Cross of Davao College encounter is going on at presstime.

* Games pitting University of San Jose Recolletos against University of Assumption-Pampanga and the University of Visayas against San Beda College originally set today were moved to Nov. 24 at the FEU gym.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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