When the going got tough, the FEU Tamaraws found a way to get going.
FEU had to survive a last-second shot in the endgame for the second straight afternoon to win a grind-it-out encounter with the La Salle, 48-46, in UAAP Season 75 action at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Sophomore guard Mike Tolomia sank a long jumper over Jeron Teng with 47.6 seconds on the clock, and the Tams got stops on two different La Salle possessions to come away with their second win in as many games.
Teng had a miss on a drive and Almon Vosotros missed a three-pointer that could have given La Salle the win at the buzzer.
The Tams prevailed in a tough, defensive battle against the Green Archers despite being held down to 30.2 percent shooting from the field, 12.5 percent from three and even just 44.4 percent at the free throw line. They were also outrebounded by nine boards.
“Ang ganda ng depensa ng La Salle, nag-ta-trap sila sa lahat ng pick-and-roll namin,” said Terrence Romeo, who led the Tamaraws with 10 points. “Talagang ang ganda ng helpside (defense) niya.”
But in the endgame, FEU went back to what they do best — isolation play on offense — and it paid off in a big way. With under a minute to play, and the score tied at 46-all, Tolomia set up for an isolation play against La Salle’s prized rookie and made the go-ahead basket.
FEU coach Bert Flores said that with the way the Green Archers were trapping Romeo and former MVP RR Garcia, he decided to turn to Tolomia, who had a rookie defending him.
“Sa summer league namin, tsaka sa ibang liga abroad, sa Singapore, Malaysia, bibigyan ko siya ng kumpiyansa na ganoon,” said Flores on Tolomia.
“Eh si Mike, naglaro na sa international. Kahit sa international, magaling si Mike sa ganyan.”
Tolomia and Teng were former teammates in the Nokia Pilipinas national youth team.
“Nakita ko na weakest defender nila si Teng kaya doon ka pinahawak yung bola sa last seconds. Alam mo naman, pag galing high school pa lang, nakita mo na nag-struggle na siya sa huli,” Flores added.
Tolomia and Anthony Hargove both finished with seven points for FEU.
La Salle was led by four different players with eight points each.
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, Medoza 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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