FAR Eastern University ended its second-round woes in heart-stopping fashion.
Terrence Romeo regained his explosive form as the Tamaraws outlasted the University of the East Warriors in a double-overtime thriller, 98-94, in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament yesterday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Romeo pumped in a career-high 30 points and Gryann Mendoza, Mike Tolomia and Anthony Hargrove also came through in the extra periods for the Tamaraws, who finally picked up a win in the second round even minus suspended star RR Garcia.
“This is the first time that I can really say I’m so, so proud of my players,” said coach Nash Racela after his Tamaraws kept hold of top spot with an 8-2 record. “This is the kind of game that makes us stronger.”
Earlier, Ateneo stretched its winning streak to four as the Blue Eagles held off Adamson’s huge fourth-quarter run for a 79-66 triumph.
First overtime at 70-all
The Tamaraws blew a huge 17-point advantage in the last seven minutes of regulation, 65-48, as the Warriors rallied behind Roi Sumang and Ralf Olivares to forge the first overtime, 70-70.
While the Warriors looked poised for an upset, the Tamaraws rose from a 78-85 deficit in the last two minutes of the first extra period, with a Tolomia triple capping a 7-0 explosion with 3.1 seconds left, to push the game into another extra period, 85-85.
Romeo and Mendoza teamed up for the Tamaraws’ next 10 points, 95-91, before Hargrove nailed a key bucket and a free throw in the last 30 seconds that preserved the team’s lead.
The Tamaraws halted the four-game winning streak of the Warriors, who fell into a tie with the Eagles at 5-4.
Kiefer Ravena unloaded 18 points, the last nine inside the last five minutes to help stop a 19-0 Adamson blast that sliced the Eagles’ 27 point advantage, 59-32, to just eight points, 59-51.
“We have to take away that habit of relaxing when we have the lead,” said Ravena, who also drew support from Ryan Buenafe’s strong outing of 18 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four steals.
The defending champion Eagles, who struggled early in the season, crossed the .500 mark for the first time.
“It’s insignificant if we don’t get our next wins,” said Ateneo coach Bo Perasol. “We’re still far off the teams in the top four. Our goal is to be in the top four.”
The Eagles seemed to have built a comfortable lead by the end of the third quarter, 57-32, after outscoring the Falcons, 24-6, in the period.
But the Falcons fought back behind Ingrid Sewa and Rodney Brondial, who fired all but one of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, to trim the gap to just a single digit, 59-51, with five minutes to go.
Ravena responded for the Eagles, burying six of the team’s next eight points to bring the lead back up to double figures, 67-55.
The Falcons absorbed their fifth straight loss for a 3-7 record.
ATENEO 79—Ravena 18, Buenafe 18, Newsome 9, Elorde 9, Tiongson 7, Pessumal 6, Golla 6, Erram 2, Enriquez 2, Capacio 2, Tolentino 0, Lim 0.
ADAMSON 66—Sewa 17, Rios 14, Cruz 14, Brondial 14, Cabrera 3, Iñigo 2, Agustin 2, Trollano 0, Petilos 0, Monteclaro 0, Abrigo 0.
Quarters: 19-13, 33-26, 57-32, 79-66
FEU 98—Romeo 30, Mendoza 15, Tolomia 13, Hargrove 12, Cruz 9, Iñigo 6, Belo 6, Pogoy 5, Sentcheu 2, Lee Yu 0, Delfinado 0, Aguilon 0.
UE 94—Sumang 25, Olivares 21, Mammie 17, Noble 11, Santos 6, Jumao-as 5, Casajeros 4, Galanza 3, Javier 2, Olayon 0, Sumido 0, Hernandez 0, Guion 0, Flores 0, Alberto 0.
Quarters: 25-13, 42-31, 59-46, 70-70 (reg.), 85-85 (1OT), 98-94 (2OT)