It was interesting that Coach Nash Racela opted to have Romeo come off the bench in the first quarter. Nevertheless, the FEU Tamaraws quickly got into a 10-2 run. They were shooting lights out, while the UP team was struggling on offense. Much credit should be given to the FEU Tamaraws for forcing the UP Maroons to take tough shots. At the end of the first, the deficit ballooned to 12, FEU with the 23-12 lead.
Kyles Lao though, didn’t want to fold to this FEU team, he sparked a run that cut the lead to six. He scored seven of the nine second quarter points for UP. Although aside from Kyles Lao, there wasn’t much help from UP and they continued to struggle on offense in the second half. Sam Marata, who scored 20+ points in the first two games for UP, ended up with two points at the half and four points at the end of the game. The lead quickly escalated to 20 points with the combined efforts from Garcia, Romeo and Tolomia. It was much of the same story in the third quarter as the FEU Tamaraws extended the lead to as much as 29 points. It seemed that all hope was lost for UP but they dug deep and made one last push. Surprisingly, they mustered up a 17-0 run to cut the lead into 12. The UP Maroons were energized once more and optimistic for the final quarter, but Terence Romeo had other plans. He scored seven straight points and the lead was back up to 19 at the 4:20 mark. The FEU rookies Aguilon, Delfinado and Lee Yu were given some exposure in the final minutes and FEU held on for a 75-57 victory.
Reviewing Keys to the Game
1. Don’t be overconfident.
It was nice to see that FEU played great defense and got onto an early 23-12 first quarter lead. They took the game seriously and didn’t waste time in trying to demoralize the UP team. They were shooting lights out from three and were also very active in the passing lane. The FEU team didn’t show any signs of overconfidence tonight even when UP had made runs, they answered back with runs of their own. Overall, a great job by the FEU team for this victory.
2. Defend Marata.
When I was thinking of the Defend Marata key to the game, I was thinking more of maybe hold him to around 12-14 points, but holding him to just four points in the game? That’s as good as it can get. Credit the FEU defense for forcing Marata to take bad shots and never getting into a rhythm. Marata averaged 20.5 ppg before facing FEU where he shot 0/4 from three and 1/8 (12.5%) from the field. Although they might place an asterisk on this one because reportedly Marata had an ankle injury, but I’m sure FEU is happy with any type of win.
3. Make Young Fellas into jumpshooters.
With the exception of Kyles Lao who got to the paint and scored 3/7 FGs, the FEU Tamaraws played great defense and forcing tough shots on the UP Fighting Maroons. The Maroons should a ridiculously bad two out of 25 from three (8%) and 28.6% from the field. Asilum and Suarez who were effective in getting to the rim against DLSU were a combined two out of 10 from the field in this game.
4. Big Three must play like the Big Three.
Just as expected, the big three of Romeo-Garcia-Tolomia delivered with a combined point total of 45 points, led by the outstanding efforts of Terrence Romeo. They scored the ball well and rebounded the ball really well. Twelve rebounds for Romeo, seven for Garcia and five for Tolomia. They also had one steal a piece. They were shooting lights out from three and made eight out of the nine FEU three pointers. It’s hard to beat these guys when all three of the FEU guards are rolling.
Thoughts about the game
In the end, it was a much expected win for the more experienced FEU team. They have played longer together and already have a system intact. What troubles me though is that FEU was still out rebounded by UP with Chris Ball having 19 rebounds and Soyud having 10 rebounds. Rebounding is very important in basketball and is a significant factor in most wins. FEU has been outrebounded in all of its games so far. We’ll see how this issue develops. FEU though, still so dangerous behind the three-point line, making 8.3 three pointers per game.
Terrence Romeo: MVP?
Might be too soon for MVP talks but Romeo’s had an unbelievably ridiculous first three games. Two double doubles. First in the league in scoring (21.3 ppg), Second in assists (5.3 apg, trailing behind Reyes’ six apg who’s now gone from UP), first in steals (two spg), eighth in rebounds (10 ppg, first among guards). The only 20 and 10 guy in the UAAP. Pretty crazy stats.