MANILA, Philippines — Far Eastern University kept its unbeaten slate, and pushed Ateneo into unfamiliar territory with a 79-75 victory in overtime Wednesday at the UAAP season 76 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Tamaraws, who are not considered serious contenders this season, chalked up their second victory while dealing the defending champion Blue Eagles their second defeat in as many games — a first since 2003.
“This is a very important for us. We want to get all wins we could get. Especially with the competition we have here,” said head coach Nash Racela.
“Ateneo is a very strong team. We’re fortunate to be able to get his win,” he added.
Terrence Romeo continued his impressive performance, unleashing 21 points, including six of the last eight points of FEU in the extra five minutes.
While they missed the chance to wrap the game up in regulation after they led by as many as 11, the Tamaraws built an early lead in the extension period and never relinquished it.
The guards of FEU took over as a triple from Mike Tolomia, who also starred with 16 points, and a fancy lay-up from RR Garcia, who had 13, gave the Tamaraws a 71-66 edge.
Ryan Buenafe willed Ateneo back with four straight points and tied the game at 73, but Roger Pogoy regained the lead for FEU before Romeo capped the game with four straight freebies.
Romeo — who only had three assists this game, but also notched three steals — was nearly perfect from the stripe, just missing one of his 13 tries.
Buenafe, meanwhile, led the Blue Eagles’ charge without star Kiefer Ravena with a career-best 29 points, along with 15 rebounds.
The burly guard uncorked five triples, knocking down two straight early in the payoff period which helped erase FEU’s double digit lead.
Two freethrows from Buenafe gave the Blue Eagles a 58-57 lead with 5:08 in regulation but that was the last time they would lead.
Newcomer Chris Newsome added 17 points, and also helped send the game into overtime with two, game-tying clutch free throws.