TERRENCE Romeo finished with a career-high 30 points and buried the biggest basket of the game as Far Eastern University pulled off a classic 98-94 double-overtime victory over University of the East on Sunday in the UAAP Season 76 men’s basketball tournament.
In a fierce battle that had the two sides swapping one big shot after another before a delirious crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, it was Romeo who had the last say, hitting a three-pointer off a UE turnover with 2:08 remaining in the second overtime to give the Tamaraws a 95-91 lead.
The Tamaraws held on from there to complete a stunning comeback from seven points down in the final minute of the first overtime and snap out of a two-game losing streak to stay in the lead with an 8-2 win-loss record.
The Tams pulled off the win without RR Garcia, who was suspended for the game due to a second unsportsmanlike foul.
It was a heartbreaking loss for the Red Warriors, who overcame a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter only to throw away what looked like a won game in the first extra time on a bonehead error.
FEU won despite trailing by seven points in the first overtime period with 23.5 seconds left, but still managed to force another extension behind a game-tying triple by Mike Tolomia, 85-all.
“Joy and relief,” said FEU coach Nash Racela following the dramatic win. “Joy, because my players didn’t give up.”
“I think there was a point in the first overtime na we were down by seven with seconds to go so I told them that anything is possible, nothing is impossible. I’m just so happy that they believed in me,” Racela added.
UE saw its four-game winning streak snapped and fell to a 5-4 slate.
The Tamaraws appeared ready to coast to victory after holding on to a 65-48 lead early in the fourth, but the Warriors closed out the regulation behind a 22-5 run.
UE scored seven unanswered points courtesy of Ralf Olivares and Roi Sumang to force the first extension, 70-all.
Momentum seemed to have shifted on the Warriors side when they led, 84-77, following a short stab by Olivares with 23.5 seconds remaining.
But Gryann Mendoza buried a triple off a UE turnover to keep the Tamaraws in the game, 84-82, with 14 seconds to play
Down by three, FEU executed perfectly in the waning moments, with Tolomia burying the game-tying triple for another overtime.
The Warriors again held a 91-87 advantage but couldn’t score a field goal the rest of the way.
Mendoza hit another three, before Romeo capped off his heroics with two free throws and that huge triple.
FEU (98) -- Romeo 30, Mendoza 15, Tolomia 13, Hargrove 12, Cruz 9, Inigo 6, Belo 6, Pogoy 5, Sentcheu 2, Lee Yu 0, Delfinado 0, Aguilon 0.
UE (94) -- Sumang 25, Olivares 21, Mammie 17, Noble 11, Santos 6, Jumao-as 5, Casajeros 4, Galanza 3, Javier 2, Olayon 0, Sumido 0, Hernandez 0, Guion 0, Flores 0, Alberto 0.
Quarterscores: 25-13; 42-31; 59-46; 70-70 (reg); 85-85 (1st OT); 98-94.