FAR EASTERN University stayed unbeaten in five games even as University of the East joined the list of Ateneo conquerors in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament yesterday at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Tamaraws erupted for 45 points from three-point range, took a 20-point lead at the end of the third quarter before arresting a late meltdown to edge National University, 87-83.
Terrence Romeo accounted for six of the Tamaraws’ 15 triples to finish with 24 points. He also starred in the endgame with four crucial points inside the last 26 seconds after the Bulldogs threatened with a 21-6 rally in the last four minutes.
Earlier, Charles Mammie returned big from a one-game suspension as the Warriors hacked out a 72-68 decision over the defending champion Eagles, who took their fourth loss in five games.
Mammie dropped a game-high 20 points, the last two on free throws with 17.2 seconds left. He also grabbed 23 rebounds to lead the Warriors, who survived an Ateneo rally from 15 points down, 31-46, in the second half and improved to 2-3.
“We started really, really nice but didn’t finish very well,” said FEU coach Nash Racela. “Good thing Terrence [made the key baskets] to secure the victory.”
Romeo nailed a tough layup that gave the Tamaraws an 84-78 cushion and also canned two clutch free throws with just 5.5 seconds left after a Robin Roño trey pushed the Bulldogs within a basket, 85-83.
The loss dropped the Bulldogs to third at 3-2.
“It’s all about mental toughness and that’s what we lacked,” said UE coach Boycie Zamar. “The Ateneo team had pride, our team had egos. When Ateneo caught up, it deflated their egos. They woke up at the right time.”
A JM Noble drive gave the lead back to the Warriors, 68-67, before a Roi Sumang basket padded the lead to three, 70-67, with just 47.1 ticks left.
The loss came just three days after the five-time champions ended an alarming 0-3 start with a 71-59 rout of Adamson.
FEU’s output of 15 triples was the most number of treys made in a single game since the 16 recorded by Adamson in 2006 and University of Santo Tomas in 2010.
“Their defense focused on the three guys (Romeo, RR Garcia and Mike Tolomia), so it opened up lots of opportunities for the other guys,” said Racela.
UE 72–Mammie 20, Sumang 14, Alberto 14, Casajeros 8, Noble 7, Olivares 5, Santos 2, Javier 2, Olayon 0, Sumido 0, Jumao-as 0, Guion 0.
ATENEO 68–Tiongson 17, Pessumal 12, Ravena 11, Newsome 10, Elorde 5, Golla 4, Buenafe 4, Erram 3, Asuncion 2, Tolentino 0, Lim 0, Enriquez 0, Capacio 0.
Quarters: 18-12, 37-31, 54-54, 72-68
FEU 87–Romeo 24, Cruz 13, Mendoza 10, Garcia 9, Tolomia 7, Belo 6, Pogoy 5, Sentcheu 4, Iñigo 3, Jose 2, Hargrove 2, Dennison 2.
NU 83–Mbe 27, Parks 26, Roño 9, Khobuntin 8, Javillonar 7, Villamor 2, Rosario 2, Alolino 2, Porter 0, De Guzman 0, Alejandro 0.
Quarters: 28-16, 45-36, 68-48, 87-83