MANILA, Philippines - In a game that featured two teams struggling for form, one had to win.
And in this one, luck was on of Far Eastern University's side.
The Tamaraws chased De La Salle University almost all game long but came away with a clutch basket to pull off a close 48-46 win in the 75th UAAP men's basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
"Swerte lang talaga (It's just luck)," coach Bert Flores admitted, though in jest, as he saw his FEU crew hack out their second straight win with a basket in the waning seconds.
Sophomore guard Mike Tolomia drained a fadeaway jumper with 46.7 ticks on the clock to send the Tamaraws ahead for good, 48-46, before they saw Almond Vosotros' trey bounce off the rim to secure the hard-earned victory.
FEU and the Green Archers combined to shoot a terrible 29.1% from the field and were actually worse beyond the arc at two-for-23 (8.7%) as both squads scored the lowest output by any team combined this season.
Flores attributed the lethargic outing to a sudden change in game plan, when after preparing hard for La Salle spitfire LA Revilla, the Archers did not use him due to recurring tendinitis.
"Ang dami naming adjustments sa gameplan dahil nag-focus kami kay Revilla (We adjusted our gameplan to focus on Revilla)," Flores added. "Pagdating nung game, wala pala (But he wasn't there). "
Revilla's absence took its toll late in the game for the Archers, who kept the Tamaraws at bay for most of the 40 minutes but could not hit shots --- and free throws --- when it mattered most.
Terrence Romeo was the only double-figure scorer for both teams, finishing with 10 points on four-of-17 (23.5%) shooting and five rebounds. Mike Tolomia and Anthony Hargrove chipped in with seven markers each while RR Garcia and Roger Pogoy added six points apiece.
On the other hand, Yutien Andrada, Almond Vosotros, Jovet Mendoza and Norbert Torres each posted eight points for La Salle, which dropped to 2-1 after its first defeat.