La Salle’s suffocating defense in the first quarter made it hard for the Tamaraws to make a single field goal. La Salle was able to build a 9-1 lead, care of their team captain Jeron Teng. FEU’s first field goal came from Mac Belo’s triple. Due to FEU’s early fouls, it gave La Salle a lot of early trips to the free throw line that helped them expand their lead. The first 10 minutes wer clearly dominated by La Salle, 10-23.
Anthony Hargrove opened the second quarter with a thundering slam. Belo and Russel Escoto’s production helped the Tams inch closer to the Archers, though the latter’s bigs were able to prevent the bleeding. At the half, La Salle was still ahead, 33-37.
Mike Tolomia’s triple helped his team tie the game at 47 in the third quarter. Norbert Torres was quick to pour water on FEU’s rousing fire when he scored four straight points. However, the duo of Tolomia and Carl Cruz drained five straight points to give FEU its first lead, 52-51.
Tolomia scored five consecutive points at the start of the fourth to give FEU a three-point advantage. However, Kib Montalbo and Arnold Van Opstal helped La Salle regain the lead by two until Cruz’s triple put the Tams on top, 67-66. Tolomia exploded for two more triples to give FEU a 75-71 cushion. The Archers still tried to claw back but Cruz’s final blow ended the game at 82-77.
Reviewing the Keys to the Game
Looking at the numbers alone, it’s quite disappointing that FEU was clearly outrebounded, 34-42. But breaking down those total boards will reveal you that the Tams matched up with the Archers by grabbing 22 defensive boards compared to the latter’s 23. Those defensive rebounds really helped them during the crucial moments, credits to FEU big men’s perseverance.
Almond Vosotros was unstoppable in the first three quarters and his long bombs were a big headache for FEU as he shot 50 percent (3-of-6) from the three-point area.
Clamp Jeron down
Jeron Teng may have produced *just* 14 points during the game, but he surprised everyone with his three-point shooting (2-of-3). Things would have been difficult for the Tamaraws if he continued taking and making that well from beyond the arc. During the fourth quarter, FEU was successful in limiting Jeron to only three points. It was good that the Tams’ defense worked on Jeron that time.
Thoughts about the game
Mike Tolomia has arrived. During the game, he look liked a man possessed by his two great former teammates, RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo. But no, that was the real him. He stepped up not as the team’s star, but as a veteran. Not to be set aside was Mac Belo, who had an all-around game before he was sidelined due to cramps in the final moments of the game.
In this FEU win, everyone deserved to be praised for doing their jobs. Though they had a jittery start and had some lapses on defense, it might be safe to say that this is still only their first game and they still have time to improve.
As an FEU fan, this win against the defending champs is a big confidence-booster for the team. I wouldn’t dare say that FEU will be a title contender this early. A win is still a win, after all. The Tams still need to work on their lapses and take it step by step until they reach their primary goal, which is to enter the Final Four.