Feature: Power Rankings: July 30-Aug 3
Posted Aug 5th 2014
By Anthony Divinagracia Posted Jul 12th 2014
Far Eastern University (FEU) cut De La Salle University’s championship ego to size on Saturday behind the razor-sharp shooting of Mike Tolomia as the Tamaraws debuted on a high note in the 77th UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.
Tolomia sizzled for 23 points gighlighted by a remarkable 4-of-6 clip from three-point land while tallying five assists and three rebounds to take the hype off the defending champions and help the Tamaraws fashion out a come-from-behind 82-77 victory.
“I never expected that we will win against La Salle,” FEU coach Nash Racela said. “We started very slow. We just made good adjustments, especially on defense.”
Offensively, Racela put Tolomia on the spotlight.
“He hit the more important shots but most importantly I saw his adjustment,” said Racela of his top guard, who bucked a scoreless first quarter to lead the Tamaraws in the endgame.
Playing the screens better in the second half, Tolomia recovered his offensive touch, nailing timely lay-ups, jumpers, and threes at will, including back-to-back triples in the last 2:52 of the fourth, to give FEU a momentum-feeding 77-71 lead.
“Medyo lumabas yung gigil ko sa umpisa. Gusto ko kasi agad maka-score pero nung nag-settle down na ko saka lumabas yung laro ko,” said Tolomia, who poured 13 of his total output in the pay-off period.
Mac Belo, Carl Cruz, and the comebacking Russell Escoto backstopped Tolomia, flaunting the other dimensions in the Tamaraws’ game throughout the contest.
Belo, who suffered from cramps late in the fourth period, chipped in 20 points while Escoto and Cruz had 13 and 11, respectively.
“Russell (Escoto) was a big help for us. Yung malalaki nila (La Salle) binubugbog kami sa ilalim but he was there along with Belo, Cruz, and (Raymar) Jose) to hold our own inside,” Racela said.
Down 10-23 in the opening quarter, the Tamaraws slowly clawed back on Belo and Escoto’s exploits to move within, 33-37, at the half.
With Belo again leading the charge, the Tamaraws unleashed a 10-3 third-quarter capped by a Tolomia triple to force the first deadlock of the contest, 47-all.
La Salle quickly answered with key baskets from Jeron Teng and Norbert Torres to regain the upper hand, 57-54, going into the last canto.
Yet Tolomia proved unstoppable, drilling the clutch baskets while stabilizing FEU in the homestretch even as La Salle mounted a serious fightback to pull within, 77-79, with 45 seconds remaining.
Cruz then converted on a lay-up off a Tolomia dish to push FEU ahead by four in the ensuing play before Torres fished a pair of charities with 21 ticks left.
But the Archers’ 6-foot-6 banger muffed both gift shots and La Salle lost possession and the succeeding jumpball while Cruz split his charities on the other end with 17 ticks remaining for the final count.
Vosotros led La Salle with 18 points while Teng and Jason Perkins added 14 and 11, respectively.
FEU 82 – Tolomia 23, Belo 20, Russell Escoto 13, Cruz 11, Pogoy 6, Inigo 4, Jose 3, Hargrove 2, Dennison 0, Richard Escoto 0, Denila 0, Tamsi 0.
LA SALLE 77 – Vosotros 18, Teng 14, Perkins 11, T.Torres 9, Van Opstal 7. N.Torres 6, Montalbo 6, Rivero 2, Tratter 2, Sargent 2, Andrada 0, Bolick 0.
Quarter scores: 10-23, 33-37, 57-59, 82-77.