TERRENCE Romeo hit one big basket after another in the fourth quarter to complete Far Eastern University's sweep of the first round with a 74-71 victory over Adamson on Sunday in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The flamboyant Romeo was the lone FEU player in double figures with a game-high 26 points, capping his heroics by scoring the Tamaraws' final eight points in a seventh successive victory that matched the team's start to the 2010 campaign.
After hitting a three-pointer, Romeo took advantage of a mismatch against a much-smaller Ar-raouf Julkipli to make it a 71-66 lead for the Falcons, time down to one minute and three seconds.
Not even the entry of a bigger defender could slow down Romeo as the celebrated guard hit another three-pointer against Don Trollano for a much safer 74-69 Falcons cushion with 24.9 seconds left.
Romeo's late-game explosion more than atoned for his cold 4-of-11 shooting in the first half and helped the Tamaraws complete a first-round sweep that FEU coach Nash Racela continues to play down.
“It’s an accomplishment but you don’t accomplish anything if you don’t get your goal,” said Racela. “We still have our minds set on the big picture.”
The Tamaraws' feat, though, has put them right on course to at last assuring themselves one of two twice-to-beat slots in the semifinals as they are now a good three games ahead of the rest of the eight-team field.
FEU's win didn't come easy as the Falcons kept the game close for most of the way, with Rodney Brondial's buzzer-beating shot putting Adamson ahead 37-36 at halftime. The Falcons still led 61-58 after a triple by Harry Petilos, 61-58.
After a Jericho Cruz lay-up, Adamson actually had a chance to tie the game after FEU's Mike Tolomia was called for a five-second violation, 74-71, with 15.9 seconds left. But Julkipli missed an off-balanced three-point attempt in the game's most important play.
Adamson suffered its second straight loss and fell to a tie with defending champion Ateneo at 3-4 (win-loss).
FEU (74) – Romeo 26, Pogoy 9, Garcia 9, Belo 9, Tolomia 8, Hargrove 4, Mendoza 3, Sentcheu 2, Jose 2, Cruz 2, Inigo 0.
Adamson (71) – Cruz 21, Sewa 13, Brondial 13, Trollano 5, Julkipli 5, Agustin 4, Abrigo 4, Petilos 3, Cabrera 3, Rios 0, Monteclaro 0, Inigo 0.
Quarterscores: 20-13; 36-37; 54-56; 74-71.