UAAP: With FEU’s top guys struggling, Xyrus Torres takes charge

FEU celebrates Xyrus Torres’ game-winning three in a crucial victory vs NU. UAAP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines —With Far Eastern University’s Final Four chances on the line, Xyrus Torres emerged the hero in a crucial victory on Thursday in the UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball tournament.

The 6-foot forward carried the load for the Tamaraws with the usual top guys L-Jay Gonzales and RJ Abarrientos struggling on the floor. He topscored with 16 points built on four triples including the game-winner with 2.2 seconds to go that kept his team in the thick of the race.

Torres said his confidence to take and make that shot was built on the trust of his teammates and coaches.

“I’m always ready to take the shot whenever they penetrate and I’m left wide open. I didn’t expect that shot. But coach told us to trust each other and L-Jay trusted me to take the shot,” said Torres after the 59-57 victory over National U.

“Those are the times that either L-Jay or RJ will take the shot but they trusted me. Luckily L-Jay saw me [open at the corner] and it went in.”

The pair of Gonzales and Abarrientos finished with a paltry 3-of-19 shooting from the field combined, but luckily coach Olsen Racela found another player to deliver.

Gonzales, for his part, simply heeded the call of coach Olsen Racela to trust his teammates.

“Xyrus told me to look for him whenever he’s open. When I penetrated the defenders and saw Xyrus, I made sure to instill the trust that coach Olsen has been telling us worked,” said Gonzales, who had seven points, eight rebounds and five assists.

Racela praised FEU’s resiliency amid a tough stretch as it finally got its first win in the second round after three games, tying NU with a 4-6 at fourth seed.

“The shot of Xyrus won the game for us. But their character of not giving up and trusting one another are very important for us,” the FEU coach said.

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