FEU nips La Salle in low-scoring game

(Smart-Araneta Coliseum)
2 p.m. – UP vs. NU
4 p.m. – Adamson vs. FEU
For the second straight game, the Tamaraws of Far Eastern University collectively held their breath and watched a last-gasp attempt from their opponent.

And for the second straight time, they managed to hold on.

Gutsy Michael Tolomia converted the game-clinching step-back jumper as FEU scraped past upstart La Salle 48-46 in an intense defensive battle Sunday night to gain its second straight win in the UAAP Season 75 men’s basketball action at the MOA Arena.

Fresh from an equally-thrilling 73-72 victory over University of Santo Tomas in the opener last July 14, the Tamaraws needed another go-ahead bucket in the clutch–this time courtesy of Tolomia–and kept their fingers crossed as Almond Vostros’ three-point try clanged off the rim as time expired.

“Naka-chamba ulit,” stated FEU coach Bert Flores with a wry smile.

Shifty guard Terrence Romeo of FEU was the only player among the 22 cagers fielded by both teams to reach double figures in points, posting 10 markers anchored on a rough 4-of-17 shooting from the field plus five boards and an assist.
RR Garcia, who made the game-winning over the Tigers, struggled in 33 minutes of play as the ace playmaker was held down to just six points on 12 attempts but had four board and four assists.

Good thing, there was the 5-foot-11 Tolomia–the most underrated among the Tamaraws’ dreaded backcourt–to save the day for the Tamaraws.

Pitted against highly-touted rookie Jeron Teng–referred to Flores as the “weakest link” in La Salle’s backcourt, Tolomia dribbled to his left, stepped his way back to gain a needed separation and calmly drilled in the well-contested jumper with 47.6 seconds left.

“Tinignan ko ‘yung match-up at nakita kong si Teng ang weakest link sa kanila. Alam ko kasi na i-ta-trap rin sila RR at Terrence. Kaya sabi ko kay Mike, ‘Ikaw na.’ Iba kasi yung depensa ng player mula high school,” stressed Flores.

In the ensuing play, Teng bungled his offensive thrust then rugged forward Arvie Brings, a former Archer, muffed his two charities, leaving the door ajar for La Salle with 12.8 ticks remaining.

With no more timeouts left, La Salle guard Mark Tallo quickly rushed the ball then slipped against the swarming defense of FEU. He, however, managed to pass the ball to Vosotros, who had an open look but hit the back iron of the rim, sealing another close win for the Tamaraws.

A former national youth mainstay, Tolomia finished with seven points and went a perfect 3-of-3 from the two point field on top of two assists. American import Anthony Hargrove also tallied seven markers, six boards and three blocks for FEU, which shot 16-of-63 (30.2 percent) from the field, quite a better output against La Salle’s 15-of-54 (27.8 percent).

Four players–Vosotros, Yutien Andrada, Jovet Mendoza and Norberto Torres–tallied eight apiece for La Salle, which initially enjoyed a 25-19 spread in the second canto but eventually saw its two-game winning run cut short and dropped to 2-1.
The scores:
FEU 48 – Romeo 10, Tolomia 7, Hargrove 7, Pogoy 6, Garcia 6, A. Bringas 5, Cruz 4, Belo 3, Mendoza 0, Escoto 0, M. Bringas 0.
La Salle 46 – Andrada 8, Vosotros 8, Mendoza 8, N. Torres 8, Teng 6, Tallo 4, Van Opstal 2, Tampus 2, T. Torres 0, Webb 0, Manguera 0.
Quarterscores: 15-11, 23-26, 35-34, 48-46


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