The Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws thumped the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers, 65-60, on Sunday to clinch the No. 2 spot in the Final Four of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 77 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Tamaraws, powered by the spectacular performance of 6’3 swingman Mike Tolomia and 6’6 center Mark Belo, exploited the Green Archers’ poor defense all throughout the 40-minute game and snatched the last twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.
“It was really a hard win but today we just showed the character of the team,” said FEU head coach Nash Racela. “I told the players if you really want to succeed in life you have to persevere regardless whichever opponent we’re going to face.”
Tolomia led the Tamaraws with 19 points and eight rebounds despite committing seven turnovers while his teammate Belo finished with 15 points plus 10 rebounds. Carl Cruz and Roger Pogoy combined for 14 points also for FEU.
FEU started aggressively by posting a commanding 27-14 lead in the second quarter. La Salle narrowed the gap to mere two-points and even grabbed the lead once at 60-58, before the last two minutes of the game.
The Tamaraws notched seven straight points in the last minute mark as the Green Archers committed their third straight turnover diminishing their chance to snatch the twice-to-beat edge.
La Salle’s Jeron Teng posted only eight points on 2-of-11 shooting in the field along with eight rebounds and five turnovers.
After losing 64-68 to Ateneo De Manila University last week in overtime wasting their 19 points lead in that game, the Tamaraws employed tight defense to force the struggling Green Archers to 20 turnovers.
FEU and La Salle will face each other again in the Final Four with the Tamaraws now armed with a twice-to-beat advantage.