FAR EASTERN, aided by La Salle’s atrocious free throw shooting, pulled off a miraculous comeback to stay unbeaten on top in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament yesterday.
The Tamaraws clawed back from 13 points down with less than three minutes in regulation then slipped past the Archers in overtime, 83-79, to stretch their unbeaten run to four games at Mall of Asia Arena.
Mac Belo forged the overtime for FEU at 75-75 after Almond Vosotros missed two free throws that could have given the Archers some buffer in the last 22 seconds of regulation and Jeron Teng spoiled a team-high 25-point performance for La Salle by making only two of six charity attempts inside the last three minutes of the extra period.
Teng finished with a woeful 3-of-11 record from the free throw line where the Archers, who dropped to 2-2, made only 13 of 26 tries.
Earlier, Karim Abdul, Aljon Mariano and Ed Daquioag came out with career-high games to power University of Santo Tomas to an 88-77 triumph over University of the East.
Abdul collected 25 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and a couple of steals, while Mariano and Daquiaog combined for 21 of the Tigers’ 25 points in the final quarter to dispose of a UE squad that kept coming back.
“Everyone wanted to win for Jeric (Teng), they turned it into a positive,” said UST coach Pido Jarencio after the Tigers climbed to solo second at 3-1 even minus injured skipper Jeric Teng.
UE, a preseason favorite, fell to 1-3.
Terrence Romeo drained a game-high 25 points, highlighted by back-to-back triples that sparked the Tamaraws’ rally from a huge 60-73 deficit in the last 2:36 minutes of the fourth quarter.
RR Garcia also starred late in the game to finish with 19 points, including half of the Tamaraws’ eight points in the extra period.
“It says a lot about the character of this team,” said FEU coach Nash Racela. “La Salle had a very good game plan, they knew what we were doing. It took us a while before we could adjust, but our players were able to execute.”
Mariano poured in 20 of his 24 points in the second half, including six in a 12-3 windup that helped the Tigers break away from a 74-74 deadlock. He also posted 11 boards and three assists.
A third-year guard, Daquioag came off the bench to finish with his best game yet of 19 points, 16 coming from the second half, and six assists.
“Daquioag showed he deserves to be in the team,” said Jarencio.
The Tamaraws still faced a double-digit deficit, 63-75, in the last 2:26 minutes of regulation before dropping a 12-0 bomb capped by the Belo basket to forge overtime after Vosotros’ hideous free throw misses.
UST 88–Abdul 25, Mariano 24, Daquioag 19, Ferrer 9, Bautista 8, So 3, Tan 0, Pe 0, Marata 0, Lo 0.
UE 77–Sumang 21, Olivares 15, Javier 10, Casajeros 9, Santos 6, Sumido 3, Jumao-as 3, Hernandez 3, Alberto 3, Noble 2, Flores 2, Galanza 0.
Quarters: 16-10, 34-34, 63-56, 88-77
FEU 83–Romeo 25, Garcia 19, Belo 10, Tolomia 9, Pogoy 9, Hargrove 4, Cruz 4, Mendoza 2, Jose 1, Sentcheu 0.
LA SALLE 79–Teng 25, Van Opstal 20, Perkins 10, Dela Paz 9, Vosotros 8, T. Torres 4, Revilla 3, N. Torres 0, Tampus 0, Reyes 0, Montalbo 0, Bolick 0.
Quarters: 17-21, 35-34, 54-58, 75-75 (reg), 83-79 (OT)