Sparkplug Romeo anchors Tamaraws’ sizzling start

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FAR EASTERN University coach Nash Racela said his Tamaraws only need to look back at last season to realize there’s no reason to celebrate their 3-0 start in this year’s UAAP men’s basketball tournament.

“At this point, we need to control our emotions,” said Racela. “We always remind them that last year, they were 4-0.”

After the sizzling start, the Tamaraws struggled late in the tournament and eventually missed out on the Final Four.

This time, Terrence Romeo has flourished under Racela’s new system, where the star guard now shares the limelight with former Most Valuable Player RR Garcia.

“It’s a work in progress,” admitted Racela. “There are moments when they both want the ball. But you can’t change it overnight.”

Romeo averaged 21.3 points, 10 rebounds, 5.3 assists and two steals in the Tamaraws’ unbeaten start to bag the season’s first Accel 3XVI UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week presented by Gatorade.

“I’m still not happy with the way I play,” said Romeo. “Sometimes I still go back to my old tendencies, but I’m really trying my best to chip in and help the team.”

As surprising as FEU’s surge to the top was the unexpected plunge of defending champion Ateneo into the bottom of the standings.

Sorely missing their injured go-to guy Kiefer Ravena, the Blue Eagles skidded to a third straight loss following an 73-82 setback against fierce rival La Salle last Sunday.

“It’s an alarming start as far as the standards of Ateneo is concerned,” said new coach Bo Perasol of his Eagles, who reigned in the last five seasons under Norman Black.

“But I told them (players) that they shouldn’t be ashamed of being 0-3. It’s going to be my accountability. When you go out there, just tell them, ‘Blame my coach.’”

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