MANILA, Philippines – The Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws eked out a 48-46 victory over the De La Salle Green Archers to remain unbeaten in the UAAP Season 75 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena Sunday.
It was another close victory for the Tamaraws, who also had a close win over University of Sto. Tomas in their opening day assignment, 73-72.
Mike Tolomia drained the go-ahead jumper with 47 seconds to go, going one-on-one against La Salle’s Jeron Teng before sinking the shot over the rookie.
“Maganda ‘yung depensa nila sa backcourt namin,” said FEU head coach Bert Flores, but noted that their weakest defender was Teng, who was assigned to Tolomia.
“Yun na lang ang pinahawak ko ng bola in the last seconds, sabi ko iakw na lang ang mag-isolation,” Flores said, adding that La Salle successfully trapped their two other star guards, Terrence Romeo and RR Garcia.
It was a low-scoring, back-and-forth affair that saw numerous lead changes all the way to the final quarter.
The squads traded leads for the first half of the fourth period, with Jovet Mendoza’s free throws giving the Archers a 44-41 lead with five minutes to go.
But La Salle went scoreless for almost four minutes, while the Tamaraws scored five straight points. Romeo made a free throw to cut the lead to two, and Carl Cruz drained a jumper to tie the game at 44-all.
Anthony Hargrove split his charities to give the Tams a 45-44 lead, but Norbert Torres quickly snatched the lead back for La Salle when he made two freebies on the other end.
Garcia tied the game with another split from the line, setting up Tolomia’s heroics a few possessions later.
La Salle still had a chance to win the contest, but rookie point guard Mark Tallo dribbled away much of the game clock before passing it to Almond Vostros, whose three-pointer at the buzzer hit iron, bounced and eventually fell out.
It was La Salle’s first loss this season, giving them a 2-1 record, while FEU remains undefeated with a 2-0 slate.
Flores admitted that they had to rely on isolation plays for Garcia, Romeo and Tolomia because of La Salle’s defense.
“Hindi namin ma-control ‘yung bigs nila sa ilalim, kaya nag-rely kami sa isolation at pick-and-rolls,” he said.
Romeo was the lone player in double digits, with 10 points and five rebounds.
La Salle actually led 26-23 in the first half, which saw both teams struggle from the field. The Tams made only 29% of their field goals, while the Archers weren’t much better with a 32% shooting clip.
FEU was more successful on both offense and defense in the third quarter, as they held the Archers scoreless in the first five minutes before taking a 35-34 going into the final period.
The Archers were playing without star point guard LA Revilla, who incurred tendinitis on his knee.
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
DLSU 46 - Andrada 8, Vosotro 8, Mendoza 8, N. Torres 8, Teng 6, Tallo 4, Van Opstal 2, Tampus 2, T. Torres 0, Webb 0, Manguera 0
Quarter scoring: 15-11, 23-26, 35-34, 48-46