FEU zooms late to nip La Salle
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) -- De La Salle University had it in the bag. Until Far Eastern University decided to take it, that is.
The Tamaraws rallied from a huge deficit late in regulation, then continued their run into overtime as they downed the Green Archers, 83-79, in the 76th UAAP men's basketball tournament on Saturday, July 13, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Down by 13 at 73-60 with 2:30 left, FEU went on a crippling 15-2 blitz to force overtime and then never let up to streak to their fourth straight win and stay atop the team standings.
Spitfire guard Terrence Romeo fired 25 points and added 4 rebounds and 5 assists to pace the Tamaraws, who also got 19 points and 5 rebounds from former MVP RR Garcia.
“It says a lot about the character of this team,” said Tamaraws’ rookie head coach Nash Racela. “To tell you honestly, hindi ko pa talaga kilala ang team na ‘to.”
La Salle outscored the Morayta crew, 31-12, in a 13-minute stretch bridging the 3rd and 4th quarters to turn a 6-point deficit into a 13-point advantage with over two mintues left.
And with a huge lead with time dwindling, the Archers were poised to put a dent on FEU's unblemished record.
But the Tamaraws did not give up.
With their streak on the line, FEU retaliated with a back-breaking 14-2 binge of their own, with Mark Belo scoring from point-blank range to force overtime, 75-75.
Coming through in OT
Garcia, playing his final tour of duty for the Tamaraws, scored 4 points in the extra period while Belo and Roger Pogoy emerged as FEU’s surprise heroes.
Pogoy’s basket at the 2:01 mark of the extension shoved the Tams to an 81-78 lead while Belo had crucial offensive rebounds and held his ground against the taller La Salle frontline of Arnold Van Opstal and Norbert Torres.
The Archers still had a chance to pull the rug from under FEU but Jason Perkins missed a crucial attempt with 1:07 left.
Jeron Teng, who fired 25 points for La Salle, bungled 3 of 4 straight free throws that ultimately cost them the game, finishing a paltry 3-of-11 from the stripe for the game.
“All I told them is ‘Ano gagawin natin?’ bibigay na lang ba tayo?,” Racela added, referring to his team’s fightback from the jaws of defeat.
Unheralded Mark Belo added 10 points and grabbed 13 caroms for FEU while Van Opstal posted 20 points and 11 boards for the Archers. - Rappler.com