Cagayan de Oro’s JR Cawaling and fellow Smart Gilas Pilipinas standout Mark Barroca fired 20 and 18 points, respectively, as Far Eastern University primed up for the coming UAAP season as it ruled the Filoil Flying V Pre-Season MVP Cup with an 84-78 decision over last year’s champion University of the East at the Filoil Flying V arena in San Juan City yesterday.
It was actually FEU’s third straight victory leading to the UAAP season as the core of the team, which includes Barroca and Cawaling, powered the Oracle Residences to the PBL crown recently after the Tams topped the Fr. Martin Cup.
Rookie RR Garcia also shone for FEU as he made two charities and came through with a short jumper down the stretch to fend off the rallying Warriors.
Garcia, who finished with 17 points, went on to bag the MVP plum.
“We relaxed in the fourth quarter but the boys showed character,” said FEU coach Glen Capacio.
Ahead by 24 points at the start of the third quarter, the Tams became too complacent, enabling the Warriors to claw their way back into the game.
UE coach Lawrence Chongson was ejected late in the period for incessant complaining on what he felt was a foul committed on Paul Lee in a fastbreak play.
The Warriors, who trounced the San Sebastian Stags, 90-84, in the semis, rallied behind Chongson’s ouster as they cut the lead down to 50-64 going into the final quarter.
Lee, a former PBL MVP, teamed up with Val Acuna as the Warriors threatened to within, 78-80, with 16.3 seconds left in the contest.
But Garcia, a former RP youth standout, took over for FEU and scored four straight points, including a pair of pressure-packed charities, to quell the uprising.