Tamaraws escape with another close win

Another escape act by Far Eastern University.

Thanks to another sizzling performance from Terrence Romeo, the Tamaraws scrambled to a close 73-70 victory over University of the Philippines Sunday and regained their bearings in the UAAP Season 75 men’s basketball action at the MOA Arena.

The red-hot Romeo pumped in a new career-high 24 points, including his team’s last five markers, while hauling down nine boards and dishing eight assists, enough to help FEU bounce back from a stinging 57-61 setback slapped by National University last Thursday and improve its record to 5-1, good enough for first place alongside five-peat-seeking Ateneo.

“Buti savior ko ‘tong si Terrence,” noted FEU coach Bert Flores of his emerging junior guard. “Kaso hirap pa rin kami. Defense lang talaga. End-game namin masama pa rin.”

Sitting comfortably at a 68-53 cushion off a trey from Mike Tolomia with less than eight minutes remaining, the Tamaraws were caught napping by the Maroons, who gallantly fought their way back with a 16-3 run capped by triple by Alvin Padilla and pulled within 69-71 with 1:52 remaining.

FEU continued to struggle from the field but UP blew several chances to equalize.

A poor foul by Mac Belo on Mark Lopez kept the Maroons’ bid alive with five seconds left but the combo guard bungled the back-end of his charities, enabling Russel Escoto to grab the leather and wisely handed the ball to Romeo.

Tested at the line with 2.1 ticks remaining, Romeo coolly drained his two freebies that pegged the final count, as Padilla’s last-gasp heave bounced off the top of the board as time expired.

“Focus and hardwork lang talaga. ‘Pag may pagkakataon talagang drive ako. Bounce back talaga ang mindset ko,” stated Romeo.

Former MVP RR Garcia, visibly playing out-of-sorts due to an ankle sprain, groped anew with just five points on 11 limited attempts in 26 minutes of play.

Mike Silungan, who scattered eight of his team-high 12 points in the third canto, suffered from cramps and went scoreless in the fourth, as UP sank to its fifth straight setback and fell to a tie with University of the East.

Raul Soyud added 11 markers and as many boards while Lopez contributed nine points, six rebounds and three assists in a losing cause for the Maroons.

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