Tolomia tows Tams to opening-day stunner over Archers

By Aldo Avinante | Updated Saturday July 12, 2014 - 7:25pm
Mike Tolomia scattered 23 points in the FEU Tamaraws' win over the La Salle Green Archers in the opening day of 77th UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday. AJ BOLANDO

MANILA, Philippines - RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo are gone for the FEU Tamarraws, but the Morayta faithful has nothing to fear. For Mike Tolomia has shown he is more than ready to carry the load.

Tolomia scored 13 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter in leading the Tamaraws to a stunning 82-77 victory over defending champion La Salle Green Archers in the opening day of  the 77th UAAP men's basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday.

"We don't talk about it much (loss of Romeo and Garcia) but by default, Mike and Mac Belo are being touted as the new King Tamaraws and it's a challenge for them," said FEU coach Nash Racela.

"But more importantly, Mike hit the more important shots. As a coach, you don't like some of the shots he took, but he's Mike Tolomia," he added.

The third-year player also set up a key play when he created for Carl Cruz to score an open lay-in with 29.2 left to give FEU an 81-77 lead.

DLSU failed to score the rest of the way, and the Tamaraws sealed the win.

"Nangggigigil pa ako nung first half kaya hindi ko pa makuha game ko. So nung second half nag-focus na ako sa depensa," said Tolomia who, struggled in the first half scoring only three points on 1-of-7 shooting.

Belo, for his part, backstopped Tolomia with 20 big points before succumbing to cramps with less than a minute left. Russell Escoto and Cruz added 13 and 11 points, respectively, for the Morayta-based squad.

The Tamarraws had to fight back from an early 13-point deficit after a slow start, chipping away at the Archers' lead before finally taking the driver's seat, 52-51, when Cruz drilled a triple at the 4:41 mark of the third quarter.

Almond Vosotros paced the Taft-based cagers with 18 markers while Jeron Teng and Jason Perkins chipped in 14 and 11 points, respectively.

FEU had a spirited charge in the third quarter but the defending champions held on to a slim 59-57 upperhand at the onset of the payoff period.

La Salle ended the first half with a 37-33 advantage thanks to Vosotros' 12 points while Belo paced the Tamaraws with 13 markers in the same span.

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UAAP Season 77 kicks off at Smart Araneta
ADMU Blue Eagles 11 3
FEU Tamaraws 11 4
DLSU Green Archers 10 5
NU Bulldogs 10 5
UE Red Warriors 9 6
UST Growling Tigers 5 9
UP Maroons 1 13
AdU Falcons 1 13


Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014 @ Smart Araneta Coliseum
3:00 PM - Men's Finals Game 2