MANILA, Philippines – The Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws stunned the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers with a come-from-behind 73-72 win during the main game of UAAP 75 men’s basketball at SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.
RR Garcia, who scored FEU’s game-winner in the final 7 seconds, led the Tamaraws with 21 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists.
The 5’11” small guard combined with Terrence Romeo in the fourth to help FEU climb out of a 10 point deficit en route to their shocker against the Tigers.
The Tiger’s loss negated Karim Abdul’s 24 point output for UST, which was just coasting by FEU during the first three quarters.
The Tigers were leading by just a point, 72-71, with 9 seconds remaining when UST’s Jeric Fortuna fumbled his crossover move near halfcourt.
Cris Tolomia immediately pounced on Fortuna’s mistake, passed the ball to Garcia who ran away with a lay up, making it 73-72 for the Tamaraws.
With no time outs left, Fortuna immediately passed the ball to Aljon Mariano. Mariano went for a jumper over Anthony Hargrove’s defense, but missed.
Hargrove finished with 14 points, while Romeo ended up with 13.
Jeric Teng, who hit several treys for the Tigers, wound up with 18.
Abdul scored 17 points in the first two quarters to help the Tigers to a 37-31 half time lead over the Tamaraws.
UST widened the gap to 10 points in the third, through balanced scoring from Tata Baustista, Teng and Abdul.
But Romeo launched a searing run in the final quarter to bring the Tamaraws within 3 points, 60-57.
Garcia’s back-to-back triples and Tolomia’s lay up later erased UST’s lead.
Teng tried to bring the Tigers back into the game by coming up with a couple of shots beyond the arc, 72-69, with 1:04 left.
Later, Arvie Bringas' miss got counted in when Kevin Ferrer accidentally touched the rim while going for the rebound.
This brought the scores to 72-71, just 31.6 seconds remaining.
FEU, last year’s runner up, joined the National University (NU) Bulldogs atop the standings with 1-0.
Meanwhile, UST shares the bottom lane with UE with 0-1.
FEU 73 - Garcia 21, Hargrove 14, Romeo 13, Tolomia 8, Pogoy 8, Bringas A. 4, Mendoza 3, Cruz 2, Bringas M. 2, Belo 0, Escoto 0
UST 72 - Abdul 24, Teng 18, Mariano 10, Bautista 7, Fortuna 6, Ferrer 2, Vigil 9, pe 0, Lo 0, Daquioag 0