MANILA, Philippines — Far Eastern University barely got past Arellano despite holding a 15-point lead entering the third quarter in the FilOil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup.
And for FEU head coach Nash Racela, that’s just another lesson learned that would definitely be beneficial in helping them grow as a team.
“Important thing for us is learning how to win as a unit and yung mga games na ganon will definitely help us a lot pagdating sa UAAP Season,” said Racela after the Tamaraws escaped the Chiefs, 81-79, Wednesday at the San Juan Arena.
“We welcome those kinds of games. Ang belief namin is it will help us in the future.”
With RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo struggling with their shots, Mike Tolomia picked up the slack with 18 points, three rebounds and three assists.
“Struggle si RR at si Terrence. Ako yung third backcourt so kailangan ko mag-step up,” the five-foot-11 Tolomia said after helping his team improve to 2-2.
Apart from Tolomia’s play, FEU also drew a big game from Russell Escoto, who filled in for Anthony Hargrove. Racela decided not to play Hargrove, who was in uniform, after the American center failed to attend a team gathering last Saturday.
Hargrove was hardly missed with the lanky six-foot-six Escoto putting up 13 points and six rebounds.
“Ito kasing mga ‘to are potential PBA players. Sinasabi ko nga sa kanila, if they (Tolomia and Escoto) play their cards right they will end up in the PBA.”
The Tams overcame a torrid second half by Nard Pinto, who unleashed 21 of his game-high 25 points in the last two quarters for the erstwhile unbeaten Chiefs. Pinto also had eight rebounds and five assists.
Arellano, which absorbed just its first loss in five games, had a couple of chances in the final 10 seconds but on both times James Forrester committed costly turnovers. Forrester had 19 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.
Garcia and Romeo combined for just 19 points on six-of-15 shooting from the floor. Racela said that he had to limit Romeo’s minutes after the guard, who played heavy minutes Tuesday to lead Big Chill to a key win over EA Regens in the PBA D-League, told him that he is experiencing some pain.