by Jason Mercene
Photos by Marlon Nombrado
With an unhealthy Joseph Marata, UP’s offense got buried.
Raging Far Eastern University leaned on their hot-shooting backcourt duo of Terrence Romeo and RR Garcia as they steamrolled past University of the Philippines, 75-57 in the UAAP Men’s Basketball on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.
The spitfire guards who combined for 35 points, 21 of them in the rainbow territory, took turns in providing a steady shooting for the Tamaraws en route to a blowout victory over the struggling Maroons.
Despite winning the battle in boards against the Tamaraws, 63-52, the Maroons could not find their touch in the offensive end as they were held in a nightmare shooting of 28.6%.
“We missed Marata. Marata got injured in our La Salle game. Di naman masamang-masama but then he didn’t practice for two days and today, obviously he was hobbled. Pero not to take anything from FEU, they have a good defensive plan for Marata,” said coach Ricky Dandan.
True enough, the former Green Archer Joseph Marata, a legitimate scoring option for UP in the past two games, was a non-factor today with only four points in four tries.
Starting point guard Michael Tolomia fired five quick points out of his nine in the opening salvo, pumping the attack for FEU as they erected a 20-point cushion heading to halftime, 41-21.
The Tamaraws went on to extend their lead to 25 before the Maroons started another classic fight back bridging the third and fourth quarter, dropping a 15-0 run, highlighted by back to back baskets from Joseph Gallarza.
The Tamaraws’ lead was trimmed to 12 until Romeo took over at crunch time as he waxed five straight points enough to keep the Maroons at bay for good.
“Binalik lang namin ‘yung mga ibang players sa ibang naglalaro because down the road we know that we will need them,” said FEU coach Nash Racela.
With the win, FEU remains on top with a clean 3-0 record while UP suffered their third straight loss in as many meetings.
Only center Raul Soyud scored double digit for the Maroons, collecting 10 points while Chris Ball and Kyles Lao finished with nine and seven, respectively.
The Maroons will play the National University Bulldogs next Sunday, 2pm at the MOA Arena.
FEU – Romeo 20, Garcia 15, Tolomia 10, Cruz 8, Mendoza 6, Jose 6, Belo 6, Inigo 2, Aguilon 2
UP – Soyud 10, Ball 9, Lao 7, Amar 6, Wong 4, Marata 4, Gallarza 4, Desiderio 4, Gingerich 3, Suarez 3, Pascual 2
Quarter scores: 23-12, 41-21, 62-41, 75-57