Game Notes (obstacles):
Let’s recap what the FEU Tamaraws had to overcome to get the miraculous double overtime victory.
- The Amazing Roi Sumang was amazing once again with a 25-point, seven-rebound and five-assist performance. He did most of his damage in the fourth. I will talk more about Sumang later on.
- Lord Casajeros playing stingy defense, forcing Terrence Romeo to really tough shots. It’s clear now that teams will always place their best defender on Romeo. Casajeros was really effective forcing Romeo to tough shots. Casajeros being the competitor he is, also wanted Romeo to work hard on defense, at times he would attack, or isolate him.
- Charles Mammie with a ridiculous rebounding performance, ending up with 27 rebounds. Most ever since stats were recorded by Pong Ducanes. Let that sink in, most rebounds in a decade, wow.
- FEU Tamaraws, who averaged 11.8 turnovers going into the game, had a whopping 25 turnovers. It was surprising to see the Tamaraw team that was very good taking care of the ball suddenly racking up 25 errors in the game. Big part of it has to be missing the guidance and leadership of RR Garcia. Another observation: the FEU team noticeably traveled on a lot of possessions. What’s up with that? Moving forward, the coaching staff has to remedy this problem. I’m sure that the Tams will fix this.
- Speaking of RR Garcia, the Tamaraws had to overcome playing without their leader and five-year veteran. FEU could have used RR in the final minutes of closing quarters.
- Injuries. Interestingly, star Terrence Romeo was already playing with a sprained ankle which he endured during practice. He then aggravated the injured foot while shooting a three and then landing on Charles Mammie. Sharpshooter Gryann Mendoza also suffered what seemed to be cramps at the 1:23 mark of 2OT.
- FEU had chances to close out the UE team from the free throw line, especially at the end of regulation, but struggled shooting 14/25 (56%).
- Closing minutes. At times, it looked FEU was in trouble:
- UE with a four-point lead with three minutes left in 2OT,
- The 5’10″ Terrence Romeo going up against the 6’3″ Adi Santos in a jumpball with 16 seconds remaining in 2OT,
- and most of all, FEU being down seven points with 23 seconds remaining in OT.
All of a sudden, magic happened.
I think there was a point in the first overtime na we were down by seven with seconds to go so I told them that anything is possible, nothing is impossible. I’m just so happy that they believed in me. And I am so proud of them. This is the first time I will be saying that I am so, so proud of them. -Nash Racela
After UE made an easy layup to stretch the lead to seven, Romeo quickly blazes down the court to get two. Gryann Mendoza, getting a steal off a UE pass, could’ve gotten an easy layup but has the presence of mind to step back and shoot a three. It goes in! And it’s a two-point game. Sumang makes one out of two. Tolomia gets the ball brings it down court, fakes a handoff to Romeo. He gets his Ray Allen moment. He elevates, shoots… and it goes in! Sumang misses the halfcourt heave!
What an incredible turn of events. What was sure to be a UE victory, resulted into another five minutes of action! Just when you thought this game couldn’t get any crazier.
It required an unbelievable amount of luck on FEU’s part to make the comeback but it also required a lot of heart. The FEU Tamaraws never gave up. They literally played ’til the buzzer sounded and that effort was very admirable. It’s a very proud moment for the FEU faithful to witness their team fight back even against the insurmountable odds.
Game Notes (The Good):
- Achie Iñigo is probably one of the many unsung heroes of this game. Coach Nash called on his number to fill in for RR Garcia as the third string guard and he delivered. Here’s a guy who averages six minutes, 1.2 ppg and 0.7 apg. He was really effective breaking down the defense, even beating Roi Sumang at times off the dribble, he ended up with six points and six assists. Iñigo finding guys was one of the main reasons the threes were falling for FEU. He was very instrumental in getting the double-digit lead for FEU, especially in the first three quarters. It’s also a good sign for the future guard rotation lineup of Romeo-Tolomia-Iñigo for season 77.
- The threes were finally falling! Sigh of relief for FEU fans. FEU shot 14/41 from three (34.1%). This is in big part to FEU being able to get to the paint, find the open man and knock down shots.
- It was encouraging to see FEU run every time, especially in the first half. They were highly effective in the open court and this is a good sign for things to come. The team racked up 12 fastbreak points and 17 turnover points.
- Everyone contributed in a big way. Romeo with a career high 30 points, scoring in amazing ways. Mendoza with four triples and, amazingly, 13 rebounds! Tolomia with a great all-around game: 13 points, seven rebounds and six assists (and the big shot!). Hargrove with big baskets. Sentcheu and Hargrove taking turns protecting the rim. The whole team was shooting the three ball well too. Amazing effort by the FEU Tamaraws.
Review of the Keys to the Game
Make Perimeter shots
The FEU Tamaraws were making the threes and long jumpers! They shot 14/41 (34.1%) from three and 16/53 (30.19%) on perimeter shots. It’s nice to finally see shots falling for FEU, although the glaring stat of the game was the 14/25 (56%) shooting from FT. The coaching staff have to address this, maybe another shooting assignment via text from Coach Nash?
It’s really a hard task to stop Super Sumang especially in the fourth quarter. FEU gave their best effort though but they failed to keep him from attacking the basket and getting his numbers. Sumang is just a very special UAAP talent. He probably knows he can’t win games on his own so he tries to get other people involved early and takes over in the fourth. Here’s a look at his amazingness.
|First 3 Qtrs||9||2/6||33%||0/6||0%||3/5||60%||3||2||0||0||2|
Keep rebounding battle close
Interestingly, FEU won the rebounding battle 60-57, even with Mammie’s 27 monster rebounds. This is only the second time the Tamaraws have outrebounded their opponents (other time was second round battle vs. NU). We all know rebounding is a very important statistic and the coaching staff probably worked on rebounding with the team during the break (after FEU was outrebounded in all first round games). Outrebounding the opponent in two out of the last three games is a good sign for the Tamaraws.
Terrence Romeo will probably always be scrutinized, especially for his shot selection. But with Terrence, as Coach Nash has said, you take the good with the bad, it’s also part of what makes him great. You also can’t doubt the toughness and the fight in this kid. Playing with an ankle sprain, reinjuring the ankle within the game, going back after 30 seconds and doing Terrence Romeo things like nothing happened. He finished with 30 points and hit the big shot in 2OT to stretch the lead to four
I’m glad Mike Tolomia made the three pointer to send the game to 2OT. He probably was devastated after he missed the game winner vs. NU. Going into the game, Tolomia was actually averaging 20% from three (team worst, min. 2 shots). Tolomia is a big time clutch shooter and this will do wonders for his confidence.
Moving forward there are encouraging signs for FEU: improved rebounding, regaining long-range shooting, the emergence of Iñigo, and the resilience of the Tamaraws. But they are far from finished products as new issues popped up in the game vs. UE: turnovers and FT shooting. It’s always a struggle and never-ending series of ups and downs in a UAAP season. The Tamaraws have just to keep fighting, be hungry and charge for the win.
Disclaimer: All videos are courtesy of ABS-CBN Sports/UAAP Sports TV.