Far Eastern University (FEU) bucked a slow start to pull off an 89-78 win over University of the East (UE) at the start of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 76 men’s basketball tournament on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Veteran point guard Terrence Romeo sizzled with 23 points, nine rebounds and 12 assists while Ryan Roose Garcia chipped in 18 markers, three rebounds, three assists and a couple of steals to tow the Tamaraws to their first win this season.
“We just reminded the boys to be patient. We struggled in the first half and I am happy that they trusted me. Terrence really played well but it was a collective effort,” said FEU mentor Nash Racela.
Anthony Hargrove added 11 points and Mark Belo 10 for FEU.
“It’s a continuous work in progress. We can never be satisfied, it’s just our first game and I am happy that we got this game,” added Racela.
Roi Sumang powered the Red Warriors with 22 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals and Ralf Olivares contributed 17 points. Sierra Leone native Charles Mammie notched just seven points for a 17-minute playing time as UE fell to 0-1.
UE actually led by as much as 11 points in the first quarter but FEU bounced back via the efforts of Romeo and Garcia. The Tamaraws established a 14-point lead on Garcia’s three-pointer with less than four minutes left in the fourth quarter.
In the second game, last year’s runner-up University of Santo Tomas survived De La Salle University in overtime, 63-58, to join FEU on top of the standings with 1-0.
Skipper Jeric Teng topscored for UST with 23 points on top of six rebounds, three assists and three steals while Cameroonian Karim Abdul had 17 points and 10 boards.
The Growling Tigers were ahead, 51-49, with 21 seconds in the fourth quarter until La Salle rookie Jason Andre Perkins made a jumper that sent the game into overtime, 51-51.
Defending champion Ateneo de Manila University, meanwhile, begins its bid against National University at 4 p.m. today while season host Adamson University battles University of the Philippines at 2 p.m.
In the juniors division, reigning titlist Far Eastern University (FEU)-Diliman takes on last year’s third-placer University of Santo Tomas at 10 a.m. right after the La Salle-Zobel-Adamson game at 8 a.m.