MIKE Tolomia vowed to chart his own basketball destiny the moment RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo left Far Eastern University to join the PBA last year.
The 5-foot-11 guard from Zamboanga City worked hard during the offseason and has posted career-high numbers of 14.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists to lead the Tamaraws back to the UAAP Finals this season.
There were big shoes to fill after the departure of Garcia and Romeo, but Tolomia said he never wanted to be a mere duplicate of his more illustrious FEU teammates.
“Sa akin, di ko naman iniisip talaga masyado yun eh (filling their big shoes). Gusto ko lang gawin yung sarili kong destiny,” the FEU shooting guard told Spin.ph.
Tolomia added that their disappointing finish in the Final Four last season with Garcia and Romeo gave him the extra motivation to return with a bang this year.
“Lagi na lang may magaling kaming guards pero di kami umabot din. Pero ako, gusto ko maging iba dun sa nakasanayan,” he added.
The athletic FEU guard is also happy to find a scoring partner in Mac Belo, the recipient of his late pass that led to the unassuming forward's buzzer-beating three-point shot to end La Salle’s UAAP reign on Wednesday night, 67-64.
“Sobrang proud ako sa kanya (Belo). Sobrang humble na tao, talagang bine-bless siya ni God as a player,” he said.
“Masipag si Mac, offense man or defense, talagang isa siya sa mga tinitingnan namin sa team.”
With just two days to prepare for National University in Game One of the UAAP Season 77 best-of-three Finals, Tolomia isn’t making any kind of prediction.
“Team defense, talagang kailangan namin para manalo kami ng champion, kaya nga depensahan ang labanan niyan,” said Tolomia.