UE shocks FEU as Echin wins it at the death

Alberto Echin and UE made the men's postseason race much more open with a shocking upset of FEU.
By Kevin Estrada

MANILA -- UE became a massive spoiler in the race to the Final Four, as they overturned a first half deficit to shock Recto rivals FEU in the first of the men's Saturday doubleheader earlier in the afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

The Red Warriors of gaffer Fitch Florence Arboleda unleashed the bogey tag on the Tamaraws, as they give UST, NU and La Salle a huge favor in the race for third and fourth with a huge second-half fightback in a 2-1 win in their second round fixture, with their first round meeting ended in a 1-1 stalemate.

"Ang gusto ko lang talaga maglaro lang sila ng maayos. Actually wala na rin kaming habol kung magstay lang kami sa seventh [place]. Yung gusto ko lang sana mag finish strong lang kami." said Arboleda who was well beyond his belief after knocking out their Recto neighbors at the death even though that the only thing they would only do is to put a dent on other teams' postseason hopes.

Paolo Bugas gave FEU the lead six minutes before halftime, but its backline buckled at the restart as UE kicked up a notch in their attack.

Pestering RJ Joyel, the booters from the east side of Recto equalized on a Jasper Absalon spot-kick after Joyel tripped Mar Diano inside the box.

UE's persistence in a hot Rizal pitch paid off at the second minute of stoppage time, as substitute Alberto Echin pressed the beleaguered netminder and put the ball in the empty net.

"Stay composed, compact and patient. Hindi kami bumigay hanggang sa matapos ang laro. Tinapos talaga namin ng maganda ang second round kahit alam namin na di kami makapasok sa Final Four," Echin said after his late-game heroics gave them just their eighth point this season.

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