By Crisdenmar Dela Cruz

PHOTO: Rappler

Super rookie RJ Abarrientos stole the limelight after Adamson's Jerom Lastimosa's trey down the stretch, hitting the game-winning triple with 8.9 seconds left to help the FEU Tamaraws escape with a 66-65 thriller against the Soaring Falcons in the UAAP S84 Men's basketball eliminations at the MOA Arena, Thursday.

After a booming trey from Lastimosa with 20.9 seconds left, the Gilas stalwart Abarrientos kept his composure and drained the long bomb over the outstretched arms of Joem Sabandal en route to their second straight win this season. 

Nephew of PBA Legend "Flying A" Johnny, the 21-year-old Abarientos finished with 17 points, eight boards, three assists, and two steals to follow up from an underwhelming 2-pt performance vs UE last game.

Ljay Gonzales chipped in 16 points, seven rebounds, and three assists, while Xyrus Torres churned in 13 points (seven in the last 3 minutes) and six rebounds.

"We all know basketball is a game of runs. We were down by eight points last five minutes," said Olsen Racela, Tamaraws' head coach.

It was a defensive battle as both teams held each other to low outputs, with Adamson leading by only two points in the first half, 28-26.

It was still a nip-and-tuck affair until the last 10 minutes, where the Soaring Falcons found their offensive groove and zoomed to a 19-8 run to lead by as big as eight.

FEU, however, answered with a run of their own as Torres sparked a 9-0 blitz to turn a once 54-62 cushion to a 63-62 edge for the Tamaraws.

And it was Lastimosa and Abarrientos who traded big shots after big shots as the time went down to 8.9 seconds with no timeouts left. Lastimosa missed the potential game-winning triple as time expired.

Nephew of another PBA legend Jojo, "The 4th Quarter Man," Lastimosa chalked up 16 points, including three triples with six rebounds and three assists. His team, however, dropped to a 1-5 win-loss record.

Cedrick Manzano added 12 markers and five boards, while Adamson's import Lenda Douanga posted 10 points and nine rebounds in the loss.

The Soaring Falcons will face the Green Archers (4-2) at 1 p.m. on Saturday, while the Tamaraws will look to extend their winning streak to three against the red-hot Fighting Maroons (5-1) at 7 p.m.

Edited by Jostle Pilayre