Tams surviveArchers, return to Finals
Sep 16/Written by: UAAP News Admin
by Alder T. Almo
Manila, Philippines – Oh Romeo my Romeo!
Staring at another Final Four meltdown, the Far Eastern University Tamaraws found their hero in Rookie of the Year Terrence Romeo, who willed the team to the UAAP Finals with an emotional 69-59 overtime win against fourth seed De La Salle Green Archers on Thursday.
Infront of raucous crowd inside the historic Araneta Coliseum, Romeo played like a veteran in the overtime making big shot after big shot that flattened the upset bid of the Archers.
The 18-year old guard, who once scored a league record 83 points in the UAAP juniors, strung up five straight points that wiped out a 59-57 La Salle lead.
After Samuel Joseph Marata sank his only three-pointer in 10 attempts to give the Archers a 59-57 lead, Romeo buckled down to work.
Romeo pulled up for a jumper at the elbow to tie the game, 59-all, and after a La Salle miscue at the other end, he went for the killer trey that gave the Tamaraws a 62-59 advantage heading into the final 2:06 of the overtime.
Romeo’s big shot sent tremors to the young Archers, who suddenly went from composed into total disarray, after controlling most parts of the game.
Reil Cervantes and Paul Sanga, who sent the game into overtime with a long triple in the final 30.9 seconds of the regulation, iced the contest at the stripes.
“Grabe yung pusong ipinakita niya sa larong ito. Ibang (Terrence) Romeo na ang makikita niyo sa Finals, said FEU coach Glenn Capacio, who finally steered the Tamaraws into the Finals in his fourth season as a head coach.
Romeo more than made up for RR Garcia’s sub-par game with 12 points on 7-of-13 shooting on top of five rebounds, two assists and same number of steals.
Garcia, the league’s MVP, was hounded by the pesky La Salle defense all game long forcing him to shoot 5-of-19 from the field as he finished with only 11 points, 6 points below his 16.8 average.
“I’m happy for Terrence (Romeo). Talagang nag-step up siya. Hindi ako maka-shoot kasi nasa akin ang focus ng depensa nila (La Salle). Kaya sabi ni coach maging decoy lang ako at mag-create para sa teammates ko,” Garcia said.
Almost given up for dead, the Tamaraws rose from the grave to survive the Archers.
FEU bucked the ejection of JR Cawaling in the second period and a technical foul issued on Capacio in the third canto to get into the Finals outright.
Cawaling’s football tackle on La Salle’s Simon Atkins led to his ejection in the 4:27 mark of the second period with the game tied at 22-all.
The Smart Gilas standout, who might sit out Game 1 of the Finals, got an unsportsmanlik
e foul for tackling Atkins and a technical foul on pushing him and the referee, who tried to pacify him during the height of the drama.
After the call, the Tamaraws lost control of the game and the Archers went on an 8-0 blast that gave them a 30-22 lead, which they held on until the overtime.
“I’m happy for the boys though I’m not happy with the officiating. The boys showed great character out there,” said Capacio, who was called for a technical foul for his outburst during the third quarter on what he perceived was a spotty officiating.
The Tamaraws were assessed with 29 fouls compared to the Archers’ 21, which led to 16 free throw attempts disparity. The Archers shot 18-of-36 at the stripes while the Tamaraws went 12-of-20.
FEU, which is in the Finals for the first time since beating, ironically, La Salle in 2005, awaits the winner of the other Final Four match between second seed and defending champion Ateneo Blue Eagles and third seed Adamson Falcons.
The Eagles and Falcons square off on Sunday with the former holding a twice-to-beat advantage.