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Tams return to Final Four

By Anthony Divinagracia Posted Sep 7th 2013

FEU marked its return to the Final Four behind the unstoppable shooting of Terrence Romeo, who scored a season-high 32 points.

Far Eastern University (FEU) marked its return to the Final Four on Saturday behind the unstoppable sniping of Terrence Romeo who exploded for a season-high 32 points in the 76th UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the MOA Arena.

Romeo poured 19 of his total output in the first half and inspired the rest of the Tamaraws towards the end to clobber a hard-fighting Adamson University, 92-80, as FEU snapped a two-game slide and more importantly kept its chances alive for a twice-to-beat incentive.

“We’re back where we belong,” FEU coach Nash Racela exclaimed after the Tamaraws rose to solo second at 9-4 behind early Final Four entrant National University (NU).

“All we wanted to do is get this one...It’s within reach. All we have to do is get it. Nasa tabi na namin e. We have achieved our initial goal right now which is to return to the Final Four.”

Mac Belo and RR Garcia also played big for the Tamaraws, dishing out 18 and 14 points, respectively.

“Gusto ko talagang maglaro sa Final Four kasama ‘tong FEU team na may bagong culture. Talagang nagsumikap kami na makuha ‘to,” said Romeo, the season's top MVP contender, who also had eight rebounds, four assists and a steal in 33 minutes of action.

He also became the fourth player to reach the 30-point barrier in a season since 2003, joining the ranks of Adamson’s Patrick Cabahug and former MVP Ken Bono, and two-time MVP Ray Parks of NU.

With Romeo catching fire early on, the Tamaraws raced to a 19-8 lead in the first quarter. But the Falcons responded with a 13-0 salvo to erase the deficit and grab the lead, 21-19.

Adamson stayed on FEU’s coattails until midway through the second period when the Tamaraws mounted an 8-3 attack to go up, 44-40, at the half.

Belo opened the Tamaraws’ third-quarter charge, nailing seven straight points including an open three to jack up FEU’s advantage, 55-42. Romeo then sank three straight baskets with 3:42 left to widen the gap, 63-45.

Yet Adamson countered with a 10-2 blast ignited by triples from Roider Cabrera and Harry Petilos to push the Falcons within, 55-65, heading into the final canto.

The hot-shooting Romeo resurfaced in the fourth, hitting seven points, including a triple that catapulted FEU to an insurmountable 80-59 lead for good. Garcia and Carl Cruz backstopped Romeo with six points each in that quarter alone.

Don Trollano flashed a career-high 25 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the perimeter, while Jericho Cruz and Jansen Rios added 13 and 11 for the Falcons, who dropped to 4-9.

The scores:

FEU 92 – Romeo 32, Belo 18, Garcia 14, Cruz 8, Mendoza 7, Tolomia 5, Sentcheu 2, Pogoy 2, Lee Yu 2, Jose 2, Inigo 0, Luz 0, Dennison 0, Delfinado 0, Aguilon 0,

ADU 80 – Trollano 25, Cruz 13, Rios 11, Brondial 9, Inigo 7, Sewa 6, Petilos 3, Cabrera 3, Cabigas 2, Monteclaro 1, Ochea 0, Julkipli 0, Agustin 0.

Quarter scores: 21-23, 44-40, 67-55, 92-80.