In a rematch of last year’s final four pairing, the FEU Tamaraws used a dominating second half en route to a 93-75 win over the De La Salle University Green Archers at the SM Mall of Asia Arena early Sunday evening.
La Salle started with a new-looked lineup and put Julian Sargent and Jollo Go into the opening five. Jeron Teng came up aggressive attacking the Tamaraws’ defense as they took the lead at 17-15 after being down by as much as seven earlier in the period. Despite being haunted by early turnovers, DLSU had a 25-17 lead with 1:09 left in the opening quarter thanks to underneath stabs by Smart Elite Ambassador Prince Rivero. However, FEU countered with a 7-0 run to end the first, which is capped by a triple by Mac Belo at the buzzer.
Rivero continued delivering from the paint but triples started to swish in favor of the Tamaraws. FEU had six triples in the second quarter and also built a 12-0 run in the middle of it with Mike Tolomia leading the charge. On the other end, La Salle struggled locating shooters with FEU playing outstanding close outs on the perimeter that forced the Archers to isolation plays. Good thing for the Green Archers was Jeron Teng delivering baskets as they were able to slice the lead, and enter the halftime break down by two.
Then came the third quarter that went the entire way for last year’s bridesmaid finishers. They outscored their Taft-based opponents, 32-11 as La Salle went stunned with FEU’s offensive juggernaut. Their deep bench proved to be too much for the young La Salle crew who ended up scoreless in the last five minutes of the third. The Tamaraws also punched in five more triples to cruise against DLSU and looked poised entering the final frame of action.
La Salle tried to install a comeback with their core veterans pushing to trim into the lead in the fourth. However, FEU’s composure down the stretch helped them maintain a double-digit advantage with Belo scoring whenever the Archers build a mini-rally of their own.
“I really don’t know how to react at first but it’s really positive. The challenge for us is to sustain this,” said Coach Nash Racela, who led his team after a close loss against UST in their last game. La Salle had 29 points coming from Teng but it was something Coach Nash expected from the fourth year La Salle star saying “Jeron will be Jeron. We failed nga kasi he had 29 but another focus we add into this game is defending Jason Perkins too.”
Mike Tolomia had 20 points and five assists to lead FEU. Smart Elite Ambassador Mac Belo added 17 markers and for blocks.
FEU shot aclose to 48% from the field compared to La Salle’s 37%. Aside from being plus 36 from downtown, they also outrebounded La Salle, 53-40.
La Salle’s (1-2) next outing will be up against Adamson while FEU (2-1) faces UP (2-1) next. Both games will be played on Sunday, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
FEU(93) – Tolomia 20, Belo 17, Orizu 12, Pogoy 8, Jose 6, Inigo 6, Trinidad 6, Tamsi 6, Escoto 5, Arong 3, Comboy 3, Holmqvist 1, Ebona 0, Escoto 0
DLSU(75) – Teng 29, Caracut 13, Sargent 11, Rivero 8, Perkins 5, Navarro 3, Muyang 3, Torralba 2, Go 1, Tratter 0, Torres 0, Langston 0
Quarters: 24-25, 45-43, 77-54, 93-75