RR Garcia beat the buzzer by a fraction of a second with an uncontested layup as Far Eastern University broke the hearts of the National University Bulldogs, 77-75, on Sunday in the UAAP seniors basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Bulldogs appeared to have the upperhand when Bobby Ray Parks stole the ball and raced down court for a shot at a winning basket. The Bulldogs star, however, lost the ball, and Roger Pogoy retrieved it.
With time running out, Pogoy heaved a long pass to Garcia, who elected not to pass to Anthony Hargrove and instead went for the basket himself, scoring on a left-handed layup.
At first glance, it appeared that Garcia failed to beat the clock but a very close look at the video replay showed that Garcia was able to release the ball a fraction of a second before the clock expired.
“Bago sa akin pinasa ni Pogoy, may mga two seconds pa. Hindi ko nakita si Anthony kaya ako na lang ang tumapos,” said the 2010 league MVP after he finished with 10 points and nine assists.
NU, however, signified its intention to file a protest within the prescribed 24-hour period, according to UAAP basketball commissioner Ato Badolato.
It was an especially comforting win for FEU coach Bert Flores, who was confined in the hospital for two days after its loss to Ateneo on Wednesday due to low blood.
“Heart attack game na naman,” said Flores. “After ng Ateneo game, na-low blood ako dahil kulang sa tulog.”
Garcia’s heroics pulled the Tamaraws to a tie with University of Santo Tomas for second place on 8-3 win-loss record. The win also dropped NU to fifth place at 6-5, a rung below La Salle (6-4).
“Importanteng game sa amin ito dahil kung matalo kami, halos katabla na namin ang NU. Swerte rin kami,” said Flores.
Terrence Romeo led the Tamaraws with 20 points including a go-ahead three-pointer in the 53-second mark, 75-73. Parks, however, tied the game with two crucial free throws with 19.7 seconds.
Romeo’s triple was actually FEU’s third in the quarter as they wiped out a 51-58 NU lead entering the fourth.
FEU (77) – Romeo 20, Escoto 18, Hargrove 13, Garcia 10, Mendoza 7, Pogoy 6, Cruz 3, Sentcheu 0, Inigo 0, Belo 0, M. Bringas 0.
NU (75) – Parks 26, Alolino 18, Mbe 14, Javillonar 7, Villamor 6, Rono 2, De Guzman 2, Singh 0, Rosario 0, Neypes 0, Labing-isa 0, Betayene 0.
Quarterscores: 16-20; 35-29; 51-58; 77-75.