The FEU Tamaraws quickly got to a 14-6 lead behind the brilliance of Mike Tolomia. He was making jumpers and was very aggressive in the first. It seemed that FEU was going to dominate like most of the games they’ve won this season.
The tide quickly turned when Arnold Van Opstal and Jeron Teng decided to take over the game. They were very aggressive getting offensive rebounds and putbacks and putting La Salle up 21-17 after the first. Another worry for FEU was that Hargrove and Sentcheu were both in foul trouble early. This forced FEU to play with a small front court for most of the game. On top of their problems, Romeo was shooting horribly from three and finished 2 of 12 (16.7%).
The second quarter was much of the same. The DLSU Green Archers pounded the ball inside and took advantage of their height while the FEU Tamaraws were jacking up shots, mostly long contested twos. Somehow, FEU got the lead up 35-34 at halftime. FEU was also winning the rebounding battle at halftime. The guards of FEU were contributing to the boards and the team had a collective effort on the rebounds.
The third quarter seemed like one of those FEU third quarters again. They were active on defense, forcing turnovers, and successful on the offensive end lead by Terrence Romeo. But the duo of Arnold Van Opstal and Jeron Teng proved to be too much for the FEU Tamaraws as they pounded their way inside for a 58-54 lead at the end of the third.
The front court dominance continued in the fourth quarter. The DLSU run culminated in a Dela Paz off the glass three from the corner to give DLSU the 68-56 lead. It seemed like all was lost and the basketball gods have spoken. Even the most improbable of shots like an off the glass corner three was going in. This win was destined for the Green Archers.
The FEU Tamaraws didn’t see it that way though as they were still aggressive even with the insurmountable lead in front of them. Garcia and Romeo sparked a run. They met some resistance with Arnold Van Opstal seeming dominant in the post and the lead was 75-63 with 1:59 minutes left in the fourth. Call it a major collapse or magnificent run, but the FEU Tamaraws executed one of the most improbable fourth quarter comeback runs, closing the quarter 12-0 to force overtime. Jeron Teng had a chance to win it for DLSU but was suffocated by the FEU defense to force up an awkward shot that missed.
In overtime, the DLSU Green Archers had trouble scoring against the FEU defense. They were very active contesting shots and getting shot blocks. There weren’t open looks for those 5 minutes. The main story for the overtime period though was Jeron Teng missing a number of opportunities at the line where he struggled shooting 3 of 11 (27.3%) by the end of the game. Roger Pogoy and Mark Belo were huge in securing the rebounds that eventually lead to an FEU win.
Review of the Keys to the Game
The Garcia-Romeo-Tolomia connection combined for 53 points and 12 assists. They were a major part of why FEU was able to win this game especially down the stretch when Garcia was able to get easy looks from Romeo and early on when Tolomia was contributing to get the early lead. Garcia and Romeo were also the driving force of the fourth quarter run to force overtime. My only problem with the trio was they shot horribly from the three point line 4/21 (19%) so I’ll have to put this key with an asterisk. The team will struggle if the players (especially the guards) don’t shoot well from three. Credit goes to La Salle for contesting shots too.
Keep Jeron out of the paint
Jeron Teng was on fire tonight. He finished with 25 points and 15 rebounds with 7 being offensive. The FEU defense did not do a good job on him early on giving him easy layups and not boxing him out on rebounds. In the latter part, the FEU defense was forcing him to long jumpers and played great defense on him especially in the final seconds of the fourth where he was forced to shoot an awkward floater. Credit the FEU defense for also recognizing Jeron’s deficiencies from the free throw line and fouling him late in the game. Jeron though showed why he’s a superstar in this league.
Rain, rain, go away
The FEU defense was not able to limit the effectiveness of the three ball from the trio of Vosotros, Torres and Dela Paz. The trio showed why they are dangerous shooting 5 of 16 from deep (31.3%). I thought that the FEU defense did a great job contesting though especially in the overtime period where La Salle struggled even getting up a three point shot. This was best exemplified by La Salle playing hot potato and passing the ball out of the shot because of the idea that they might get blocked. But sometimes defense just didn’t matter to the shooters. Great effort though by the FEU defense.
Probably one of the most crucial factors in this game. Mac Belo and Roger Pogoy were the unsung heroes of this game coming up with a combined 11 offensive rebounds and 22 total between them. They held the fort when the front court was in foul trouble and stepped up big in this game. Not to mention the put backs they had that were crucial to getting this win. Hats off to Mark Belo and Roger Pogoy. The FEU team though were still out rebounded by 1, 52-51. So in all of their four wins they were outrebounded by their opponents. It’ll be interesting to see if they can still keep winning being outrebounded.
Thoughts about the game
The Green Archers are now 2-0 when Van Opstal has pink shoes and 0-2 when he’s not wearing his pink shoes which begs the question: Would you rather have MJ’s sneaks in Like Mike or AVO’s undefeated pink shoes?
The FEU Tamaraws weren’t supposed to win that game. Most teams don’t come back from a 12 point deficit with 2 minutes left. I thought La Salle had some opportunities in the fourth quarter where they should’ve wasted more clock instead of hoisting shots in the middle of the shot clock. The La Salle Green Archers were also slower to the ball and missed box outs which lead to their demise. They relaxed and they paid the price. It’s a learning experience though because a lot of the La Salle players are also very young. They’ll grow from this. I feel bad for Jeron Teng too because he’s going to be one of the most scrutinized players in the UAAP. I’m sure he’ll find a way to bounce back from this one.
Credit FEU though for capitalizing on DLSU relaxing. The 17 TO points and 17 fastbreak points were huge for FEU.
If I’m FEU though, I’m really excited. Up 4-0 and now on top of the standings. Just enjoy the awesomeness and the moment if you’re a fan, just let it all sink in. There are harder trials ahead though with a schedule of going against NU, UST and ADU. I hope the FEU team stays hungry, remember they were 4-0 last year but failed to make the final four.