TERRENCE Romeo torched his college team as Big Chill repulsed Far Eastern University-backed Fruitas, 77-72, to stay alive in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup quarterfinals at the Blue Eagle gym Tuesday.
Romeo finished with a game-high 29 points as the fifth-seeded Superchargers got another shot at gaining a semifinal berth at the expense of the Shakers when the two teams tangle in a do-or-die encounter on Thursday (3 p.m.) also in the same venue.
FEU cleared Romeo to play for Big Chill in the playoffs after its star guard, as insisted by the Tamaraws camp, violated a team rule not to join any D-League team this conference as part of its preparations for the coming UAAP season.
Now Romeo will have a chance of steering Big Chill to the semifinals against a Fruitas team which has a school tie-up with the FEU Tamaraws this conference.
Big Chill coach Robert Sison, however, credited the victory not only to Romeo but to the entire team, with Mac Montilla scoring 22 points and Jeckster Apinan, acquired from EA Regen Medical Group in a trade for Alex Nuyles, had 12 points and 13 rebounds.
“I thought we showed our character and poise down the stretch,” Sison said. “Terrence played great. Mac (Montilla) and Jeckster (Apinan) also made an impact especially when the defense focused on Terrence.”
The fourth-seeded Shakers hold a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, but will now have to go through a sudden death game against their rival in the fruit shake industry for the right to enter the semis.
Romeo hit back-to-back triples to start off the pivotal fourth after holding on to a 49-46 lead at the end of the third. His long-range shooting sparked a 13-6 run.
The Superchargers later staved off a Shakers endgame rally after they came to within four points with 1:44 left in the game.
Big Chill (77) - Romeo 29, Montilla 22, Apinan 12, Bringas 4, Dumapig 3, Heruela 2, Villahermosa 2, Lozada 2, Canlas 2, Santos 0.
Fruitas (72) - Escobal 14, Cruz 13, Lastimosa 12, Colina 9, Tolomia 8, Mendoza 5, Caram 3, Pogoy 3, Semira 3, Escoto 2, Antonio 0.
Quarterscores: 14-11; 29-28; 49-46; 77-72.