By Val Marvin G. Macanas
Just like what happened last year, the FEU Tamaraws once again defeated the UST Growling Tigers via a come from behind fashion anchored on the combined efforts of Romeo, Garcia and Tolomia. The final score of the game was 73-72 courtesy of RR Garcia's game winning lay-up over Jeric Teng. The UST crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena was shocked when they saw the Final score on the Big Screen.
That game winner of RR came from the sleek steal of Tolomia off Jeric Fortuna's dribbling error. That error will surely linger in the minds of the UST fans for several days.
UST won the first three quarters: 1st Quarter: 8-21, 2nd Quarter: 31-37 and 3rd Quarter: 50-60 just to succumb to the late charge of the Tamaraws in the 4th quarter, 73-72.
Teng, Mariano, Abdul and Fortuna were all scoring heavily for the Tigers in the first three quarters but all of a sudden FEU was able to tighten up their defense in the 4th quarter to stage a 19-9 scoring run that surprised UST. That 19-9 run of the Tamaraws was anchored on the 7 straight points of Romeo. He just ate the defense of Fortuna. I was wondering why Coach Pido allowed the isolation plays of FEU to happen, Romeo vs. Fortuna. That was a clear mismatch. RR also made back to back three pointers that eventually tied the game at 69 with 1:15 left on the game clock.
In the last 1 minute of the 4th Quarter, Jeric Teng made a three pointer, making the score 72-69 for UST, but it was quickly countered by Hargrove's 2 pointer and so the score became 72-71, UST with a 1 point lead.
It all came down to the last play wherein UST's Jeric Fortuna was isolated on the top of the key against Tolomia with less than 30 seconds remaining on the game clock. When Fortuna attempted to drive the ball hard to the hoop, Tolomia was able to deflect the ball and eventually steal it. He immediately issued an outlet pass to the streaking RR Garcia for an easy lay-up over Jeric Teng. That was the game winner!
When RR was asked by the media on what he thinks about the 7 straight points of Romeo that revived them in the Fourth Quarter, he just said that "Mainit si Terrence kaya pinasa ko lang sa kanya. Wala naman sa'kin yun basta manalo kami, tsaka maganda laro niya eh."
FEU now joins NU at the top of the team standings. Both of them have an identical 1-0 record.
Far Eastern University (FEU): 73 –RR Garcia 21, Hargrove 14, T. Romeo 13, C. Tolomia 8, Pogoy 6, Bringas A. 4, Mendoza 3, Bringas M. 2, Cruz 2, Belo 0, R. Escoto 0.
University of Santo Tomas (UST): 72 – K. Abdul 24, J. Teng 18, Mariano 10, Bautista 7, Fortuna 6, Afuang 5, Ferrer 2, Vigil 0, Pe 0, Lo 0, Daquioag 0.
Scoring per Quarter: 18-21; 31-37; 50-60; 73-72