FAR Eastern University continued to amaze in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament, bringing down another top contender in University of Santo Tomas, 77-67, to remain unbeaten on Sunday at the Mall of Asia.
The Tamaraws, who hardly made it to most pundits' lists of potential Final Four teams after undergoing a major revamp in the offseason, improved to a league-best 6-0 (win-loss) and moved a win shy of a first round sweep of the elimination round.
Posters bearing the numbers ‘6-0’ began to appear in the FEU gallery in the late stages of the game as the Tamaraws opened a big lead over the Tigers, runners-up last season and one of the teams tipped to figure prominently in the title run this season.
FEU coach Nash Racela continued to play down the unbeaten record, insisting the Tamaraws are focused on getting one victory at a time.
“I’ll be consistent. 6-0 has the same feeling as 1-0,” said Racela. “I’ve learned as a coach that 6-0 doesn’t guarantee anything.”
Terrence Romeo had 12 of his 19 points in the first half while RR Garcia added 17 markers for the Tamaraws, who opened the fourth period with a 12-5 binge to pull away for good.
FEU took a 74-61 lead on a lay-up by Mike Tolomia after leading by only six points at the end of the third.
Mark Belo had 14 points and nine rebounds while Tolomia chipped in 12 markers for the Tamaraws, who now have a two-and-a-half game headway over second-running UST and Adamson (3-2).
FEU will gun for a sweep of the first round against the Falcons on July 28.
Karim Abdul had 21 points and 11 rebounds in a losing effort for the Tigers, who played without their star Jeric Teng for the second straight time due to a shoulder injury.
FEU (77) – Romeo 19, Garcia 17, Belo 14, Tolomia 12, Mendoza 6, Pogoy 5, Hargrove 2, Jose 1, Cruz 1, Inigo 0, Sentcheu 0.
UST (67) – Abdul 21, Ferrer 18, Bautista 14, Mariano 10, Lo 2, Daquioag 2, So 0, Pe 0, Lao 0.
Quarterscores: 18-21; 39-37; 62-56; 77-67.