RR GARCIA translated a costly University of Santo Tomas turnover into a winning basket as the Far Eastern University Tamaraws scored a dramatic 73-72 win over the Tigers in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
UST veteran guard Jeric Fortuna lost the handle after dribbling away the game clock and the Tigers protecting a slim one-point lead. Mike Tolomia grabbed the loose ball and wisely passed the leather to a wide-open Garcia downcourt for the lay-in.
The Tigers had one more chance to redeem themselves, but Aljohn Mariano missed a running shot at the buzzer that sealed the Tamaraws’ huge comeback from 10 points down.
Garcia’s winning basket capped a heroic stand that saw him drill in back-to-back three-pointers as the Tamaraws closed the gap at 64-63 and paved the way for the down-the-wire tussle. The 2010 league MVP finished with 21 points.
FEU coach Bert Flores admitted the Tamaraws were fortunate enough to pull off the win.
“Hirap talaga kami sa outside shooting, hirap sila pigilan from first to third quarter. Pero sa last two possessions, doon na lumabas ang depensa namin,” he said.
Anthony Hargrove added 14 points while Terrence Romeo had 13 points, including nine in the fourth period.
Jeric Teng buried a corner three from the left flank to break a 69-all tie with 1:04 left in the thrilling game, but UST was called for goaltending after Kevin Ferrer held on to the rim following an Arvie Bringas’ shot.
Karim Abdul led the Tigers with 24 points including 11 in the first period. Teng had 18 points while Mariano chipped in 10.
FEU (73) -- Garcia 21, Hargrove 14, Romeo 13, Tolomia 8, Pogoy 6, Bringas 4, Mendoza 3, Cruz 2, Bringas 2, Belo 0, Escoto 0.
UST (72) -- Abdul 24, Teng 18, Mariano 10, Bautista 7, Fortuna 6, Afuang 5, Ferrer 2, Vigil 0, Pe 0, Lo 0, Daquioag 0.
Quarterscores: 18-21, 31-37, 50-60, 73-72.