FEU BEST IN COLLEGE BASKETBALL, WINS 2003 CHAMPIONS' LEAGUE

MANILA, December 19, 2003  (STAR) By Joey Villar - Like the University Athletic Association of the Philippines cage wars and the Bantay Bata Showdown, the 2003 Champions’ League ended up with the same storyline — Far Eastern University winning it again.

Banking on a balanced attack, the Tamaraws smashed the San Sebastian Stags, 89-81, yesterday to complete a two-game sweep of the second edition of the tournament that gathered the best of the best in college basketball.

Rhagnee Sinco paced five others who finished in double figures with 16 points to help FEU win its third title this year, the first being the UAAP and the second the Bantay Bata Showdown, a league participated in by top teams from the UAAP and the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

But unlike in the UAAP, there were no tears of joy, instant sideline celebration nor a victory ride for coach Koy Banal, just the usual photo-op and the post game interviews. The Tamaraws were just pure business.

"We worked hard for this. But more than hard work, it’s our prayers that inspired us to play like this so we return the glory to God," said Banal, a born again Christian.

Also helping the Tams’ cause were Arwind Santos, Mark Isip, RJ Rizada, Dennis Miranda and skipper Gerard Jones, who had 15, 14, 14, 13 and 10 points, respectively.

San Sebastian had tasted the lead only five times, held on to it for just less than three minutes, the last at 37-36, late in the second period.

It was all the Stags could do as the Tams combined a solid defense with a vicious running game that thwarted every threat posed by the former.

A day after taking Game 1, 81-77, the Tams came back to simply outclass the Stags’ at every turn for a result that did not reflect how the former dominated the match.

While shooting better from the field–FEU making 39-of-78 shots for 50-percent as against San Sebastian’s 28-of-62 attempts for 45.2 percent–the Tams also topped every department in the game.

They dominated the boards (40-37), made more assists (25-12), interceptions (9-5), and blocked shots (4-0). They also forced San Sebastian to turn the ball 28 times that translated to 18 markers.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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