“Di ko makuha yung laro ko nung first half kaya decoy na lang muna. Nung second half napunta na sa akin.”
That's what RR Garcia said after the FEU Tamaraws beat the De La Salle University Green Archers in their first meeting in the UAAP Season 74 Men's Basketball Wars which started yesterday at the Mecca of Philippine Basketball, Araneta Coliseum. The final score was 74-65 in favor of the Morayta based squad. I like what he said because he was able to point out the gyst of this very exciting ball game.
RR Garcia, the reigning Most Valuable Player of the UAAP had a diesel like performance in this game. In the first half he only had 4 points that's why La Salle was able to keep the game close but in the second half he was able to rain down on La Salle.
The speed and pressure defense of La Salle made it possible for them to keep the score close in the first half. LA Revilla led his team in the first quarter with 5 points. He was named as the Jollibee Champ of the game after the first quarter. Coach Dindo almost used all his 12 players because they had to press a lot against the Tams. I think it was only Martin Reyes who was from LSGH whom he didn't use.
La Salle was able to make a 6 to nothing run in the start of the second half. Thru that they were able to get the lead 39 to 35, but FEU quickly answered back to get the lead, 44 to 39. Since then the Tamaraws never looked back to the Green Archers until the final buzzer. They were able to cherish their lead just like how they cherish their girlfriends.
Overall, La Salle did a great job in defending the gunners of the Tamaraws but what I noticed is that they didn't have a go-to-guy. Gone are the days of Mac Cardona and Jayvee Casio. They have not yet found a replacement for those two go-to-guys. Yeah, they did well in pressuring the guards of FEU as they forced several turnovers but they failed to capitalize and to score out of those forced turnovers because of poor field goal shooting.
Sam Marata and Simon Atkins struggled in this game, right from the start up to the final buzzer. If there are players for La Salle who can step up and be their go-to-guys, those are Marata and Atkins. Unfortunately they struggled to score in the second half. They don't have an answer against the go-to-guy of FEU, RR Garcia, who all of sudden got his rhythm back in the second half. He went berserk like a Troll Warlord en route to having 21 points, 1 rebound and 1 steal. He scored 17 points in the 2nd half which was highlighted by 3 three-pointers. Those three-pointers acted like fire extinguishers as they put out the fire that La Salle made.
The Green Archers were able to establish a 7 to 0 run in the last minutes of the 4th quarter courtesy of LA Revilla and Luigi Dela Paz. Together they were able to trim down the lead of FEU down to 4 points, 66-62 in the last 2 minutes of the 4th quarter, but it did not scare the Tamaraws as they go all out for their first convincing win in the UAAP Season 74 at the expense of the very resilient Green Archers.
The big night of LA Revilla, who scored 18 points and who grabbed 4 rebounds was put into waste as they succumb to defeat against one of the favorites to win the UAAP basketball crown this year, the FEU Tamaraws. La Salle now have a 1 loss while FEU has notched their first win of the season.
You'll be able to see the highlights of this game in this link. UAAP Highlights.
Here are the scores courtesy of UAAPSPORTS.Studio23.tv.
FEU 74—Garcia 21, Ramos 16, Cawaling 10, Cruz 9, Romeo 6, Bringas 5, Tolomia 3, Escoto 2, Excimiano 2, Sentchei 0, Pogoy 0.
LA SALLE 65—Revilla 18, Dela pz 9, Tampus 8, Van Opstal 5, Webb 5, Torres 4, Marata 4, Gotladera 2, Vosotros 2, Atkins 2, Villanueva 1, Mendoza 1, Sara 0, Paredes 0.
Quarters: 18-18, 35-33, 52-45, 74-65