TERRENCE Romeo scored a career-high 24 points as Far Eastern University once again survived a thriller, overcaming a surprisingly tough University of the Philippines 73-70 on Sunday in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the MOA Arena.
Romeo went 5-of-7 from three-point range and hauled down nine rebounds, issued eight assists and had two steals to spearhead the Tamaraws, who despite their star's heroics had to endure several anxious moments late before matching Ateneo's league-leading 5-1 (win-loss) card.
Romeo eclipsed his previous career-high of 23 points established just a week week and, to top off his splendid play, converted two free throws with 2.1 seconds to seal the victory after FEU saw its 15-point advantage cut to just one late in the game.
“Buti nalang, savior si Terrence,” said FEU coach Bert Flores, whose squad had dropped a 57-61 loss to National University on Thursday.
“Good start kami lagi, pabaliktad naman ngayon, end game naman ang masama,” said Flores.
The Tamaraws led, 68-53, early in the fourth quarter. But a UP run capped by Alvin Padilla’s three-pointer trimmed FEU’s lead to 71-69 with one minute and 52 seconds on the clock.
UP's Mark Lopez had a chance to tie the game on the free throw line with five seconds but only made the first attempt.
FEU also got a lucky break when a goaltend by Anthony Hargrove was not called by the referee with less than three minutes remaining in the game. Diony Hipolito’s lay-up hit the glass before being deflected by Hargrove with the Tamaraws up, 70-66.
Romeo made up for the struggles of RR Garcia, who reinjured his right ankle in practice and only had five points.
FEU 73 — Romeo 24, Hargrove 10, Tolomia 7, Mendoza 6, Belo 6, Garcia 5, A. Bringas 5, Escoto 5, Cruz 3, Pogoy 2, M. Bringas 0.
UP 70 — Silungan 12, Soyud 11, Lopez 9, Ball 8, Padilla 8, Montecastro 8, Manuel 5, Hipolito 4, Gamboa 3, Mbah 2, Wierzba 0, Romero 0, Asilum 0.
Quarterscores: 22-15; 41-32; 60-51; 73-70.