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Tams repulse hard-charging NU

By Josiah Albelda Posted Jul 18th 2013

Far Eastern University nearly blew a 20-point lead against National University, but the Tamaraws hung on to stay undefeated in the UAAP 76 men's seniors basketball tournament.

The Far Eastern University Tamaraws are looking more and more like contenders.

But before they get elevated to that status, Coach Nash Racela wants one thing fixed.

"It's very simple," the rookie mentor said after FEU survived a late assault by National University to win, 87-83. "It's how you finish."

The Tamaraws almost put to waste a 20-point lead, seeing their cushion get whittled to as low as two before holding on for their fifth straight win in the 76th UAAP men's basketball tournament Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

"We started really, really nice," Racela added. "But we didn't finish very well. We have to learn from this game."

Except for a late stretch when the Tamaraws allowed the Bulldogs to fight back with putrid shooting and lackadaisical ball-handling, FEU looked like a team unbeatable, making 15 three-pointers to keep their slate clean in the tournament.

The 15 triples the Morayta crew drained fell just one short of the UAAP record of 16 established by Adamson University seven seasons ago.

"Last game, (our three-point shooting) was really awful," Racela said. "Mabuti naka-connect kami today."

Terrence Romeo churned out MVP numbers anew, pouring 24 points and five assists while role players Carl Cruz and Gryann Mendoza added 13 and 10 markers, respectively.

"The defense will focus on Terrence, Mike (Tolomia) and RR (Garcia)," shared Racela. "That will open up a lot of opportunities for the other guys. Habang tumatagal ang season, we get defended and we get scouted. We'll look for other people to deliver."

The Tamaraws rode on hot shooting to bury NU from the get-go and exacted their vengeance over the team responsible for booting them out of the Final Four picture last year in style.

Jean Mbe starred in the late assault with 27 points, 17 rebounds and two blocks even as MVP Ray Parks continued to struggle with his shooting (6-of-20) but still came up with 26 markers and eight boards.

The scores:

FEU (87) - Romeo 24, Cruz 13, Mendoza 10, Garcia 9, Tolomia 7, Belo 6, Pogoy 5, Sentcheu 4, Inigo 3, Jose 2, Hargrove 2, Dennison 2

NU (83) - Mbe 27, Parks 26, Rono 9, Khobuntin 6, Javillonar 7, Villamor 2, Rosario 2, Alolino 2, Porter 0, De Guzma 0, Alejandro 0

Quarters: 28-16, 45-36, 68-48, 87-83