- FEU played with so much intensity, as expected from a team facing elimination. You could see the extra effort they were putting on loose balls. FEU was also shooting pretty well and getting to the open court, looking very much like their first round selves. They shot better than DLSU in 2ptFG (43.9%) and 3ptFG% (27.3%). They also racked up more assists (17-14), and took care of the ball better (15 FEU TOs compared to DLSU’s 20). I actually thought FEU played a better all-around game, but alas, the end result is the most important statistic.
- DLSU outrebounded FEU by a 51-39 margin. They also drew 13 more fouls (29-16) and got 25 more free throws (35-10 attempts). Credit DLSU for putting themselves in a position to win and being aggressive.
- Terrence Romeo adjusted to how DLSU was collapsing on him in the first game, found his open teammates and finished with seven assists. It was also very good for FEU that Romeo was aggressive against the defense of LA Revilla (who limited Romeo in the playoff match). Credit Romeo for taking it to Revilla and accepting the challenge and attacking his defense. Here’s a drive of Romeo against Revilla, and Romeo breaking Revilla’s ankles:
Review of the Keys to the Game
The threes were falling and FEU was looking like their first round selves. They shot 9/33 from three (27.3%). Check mark here.
Wherefore art thou, Romeo?
Romeo only had 14 points but was attacking the DLSU defense and was finding open teammates when the defense was collapsing on him. He also finished with 7 assists and 3 rebounds. The King Tamaraw almost propelled his team to a huge victory.
FEU was outrebounded by DLSU 51-39. DLSU did a good job getting the boards and limiting the Tamaraws to one shot.
Gryann Mendoza fouling out was probably the turning point of the whole game. That incident gave DLSU life and momentum was never the same since then. The funny thing is, the referee probably wouldn’t have noticed Gryann Mendoza if Coach Eric Gonzales didn’t storm the court and restrain Mendoza. Watch the referee’s head and eyes as Coach Gonzales enters the court. He probably doesn’t even hear Mendoza because of the crowd noise.
Looking back, Coach Gonzales had good intentions to restrain Mendoza but probably attracted more attention to the act. What irritates me the most though is the response of the referee. He probably is just as confused as the rest of us on the situation but makes a 180-degree turnaround (ala Kobe Bryant) and gives a technical. He probably doesn’t even know that Mendoza was on his back but decides to give him a technical anyway. In my point of view, I thought the technical foul was unnecessary. I could be off base here but that’s my take on the situation.
The King and The Captain
Farewell to graduating players RR Garcia and Gryann Mendoza. Congratulations to both players on a wonderful season, bringing a Tamaraw team that was overlooked by almost everyone to a 10-4 record and a final four spot. Garcia, already with an impressive resume, will be remembered as one of the most dangerous point guards to ever play in the UAAP. Mendoza has been one of the best shooters in the league and will be remembered as a sharpshooter that helped sparked countless runs for FEU.
What lies ahead
Romeo has been on the record saying he will come back for season 77.
Oo, maglalaro pa ako next year. Gusto ko `yung last year ko sobrang memorable. Utang na loob ko kasi yun e. Walang Terrence Romeo kung wala ang FEU.
So far, only Garcia and Mendoza are graduating from the team. FEU still has explosive guards in Romeo and Tolomia, solid bigs Sentcheu, Hargrove and Belo, reliable role players in Pogoy and Cruz. A lot of exciting rookies and possibly more recruits. Not to mention the fact that Russell Escoto will return next year. Season 77 will probably be another exciting season and another chance to reclaim the former Tamaraw glory.
It’s been an interesting ride for the Tamaraws going 7-0 in first round, shocking the majority of the nation, the media and most analysts. Finishing with a 10-4 record and getting back to the Final Four after missing it the previous year. Romeo having another spectacular season and finally bagging an MVP trophy. The Tamaraws have had many achievements this year and it was real pleasure to watch them on their Season 76 journey.
At the start of the season, I didn’t really know what to expect from the Tamaraws. To my surprise, I was really drawn in by their brand of basketball. It was very exciting. Most nights it seemed like they would run the break every time, leaving their enemies in the dust. It was pretty hard to stop them in the open court. When they were clicking, they could really tear it up. They would always find the open guy behind the three-point line and that wing player wouldn’t disappoint, he would just knock that shot down. There was this fleeting moment of magic when they played their best basketball. It was so unselfish all you wanted to do was capture the moment in a bottle and keep it forever. It was as beautiful as basketball can get.
Even though the Tamaraws lost, I was really proud of how they played that last game. You could see it in their eyes and how they moved. They looked more energized and was quicker to the ball. They played with all out heart and that’s all you can ever ask for.
A lot of people in FEU are probably disappointed right now because attaining the championship was a very real possibility. But hey, the Tamaraws lifted the spirits of the Green and Gold nation. They also showed that even when people count you out, it doesn’t really matter as long as you believe in yourself. They inspired a whole community of believers in the way they fought and that in itself is a victory.
By the way, thank you to everyone who supported HumbleBola and put up with my crazy thoughts. I hope you continue to support us for seasons and conferences to come.
All videos courtesy of ABS-CBN Sports/UAAP.