MIKE Tolomia missed the most crucial free throws of his collegiate career by far on Saturday against Ateneo that ruined Far Eastern University’s chance of clinching the outright No.1 berth in the UAAP Final Four.
He was understandably miserable later.
Tolomia was disconsolate when he emerged from the dugout and politely declined to speak to reporters after the 64-68 overtime loss, where hescored 10 points but only shot 3-of-16 from the field and a woeful 3-of-10 from the free throw line.
Moments earlier, Tolomia was sent to the line by Kiefer Ravena with two seconds remaining in regulation and the outcome of the match in the balance. The FEU star couldn't make his charities, when one could have been enough to clinch the victory.
The Tamaraws lost in overtime and, worse, slipped into a playoff for the second seeding - and the twice-to-beat advantage that goes with it - in the Final Four.
FEU coach Nash Racela, however, refused to dwell on Tolomia’s missed free throws, saying the Tamaraws collectively blew it from the free throw line.
“Hindi lang naman si Mike,” Racela said. “Collectively, we missed a lot of free throws.”
Racela was right. In all, FEU only made 13-of-32 from the free throw line for a 41 percent clip.
On Tolomia’s struggles in the game, Racela said: “I think he will be in a better position to answer that question. I can’t speak for him.”
“I understand,” Racela said when informed Tolomia didn’t speak to reporters after the game. “Mahirap ‘yung ganung talo. You were one free throw away from the finals and you give it away.”
Racela said Tolomia also didn’t speak inside the dugout after the loss.
“Wala naman siyang sinabi. He was just frustrated. We understand lalo na when you are in that situation,” said the FEU mentor.