With seven minutes remaining in the third quarter, Tamaraw RR Garcia received a kick-out pass from teammate Aldrech Ramos. The reigning MVP, however, had missed his last four shots in the quarter and had only scored four points. Without skipping a beat, he stepped way back into the professional three-point line, hoisted the shot, and watched as it splashed through the net, giving his team the lead for good.
What had initially seemed to be a long night for Garcia instead became one for the DLSU Green Archers, as Garcia poured in 17 of his game-high 21 points in the second half and, along with teammate and Rookie of the Year Terrence Romeo, sank six crucial free throws in the last 39 seconds as the Morayta-based Squad held on to beat the Archers, 74-65, earlier today at the Araneta Coliseum in the curtain-raiser for the 74th Season of the UAAP.
The Green Archers, who were led by returning point guard LA Revilla’s team-high 18 points along with five assists, came back from as much as 11 points late in the fourth quarter, as he and Luigi Dela Paz, who had 9 points, mounted a spirited 10-0 rally with about a minute remaining in the final canto, before Garcia and Romeo iced the game with their free throws.
It was actually La Salle who got on to a blistering start, with Revilla, Dela Paz and Joshua Webb taking turns in scoring to give the Green-and-White Squad an early 9-3 edge with 5: 53 remaining in the first quarter. But the Archers quickly reached the penalty as the Tamaraws, who were towed by Ramos, slowly crept back into the game to wrest the lead, 35-33, at the end of the first half.
Garcia then netted seven of his 21 in the third period as the Archers, who shot a woeful 29.9% from the field for the game, failed to score a basket in the last 4:46 of the quarter, allowing the Tamaraws to carry a sizeable 52-45 into the payoff period, a lead which was threatened by the Revilla-led charge but was ultimately preserved by the wards of Coach Bert Flores.
Fans of the Taft-Based squad collectively held their breaths for a moment as big man Yutien Andrada suffered a bad fall as he soared for a rebound midway through the second period. He was escorted by his teammates towards the locker room but later made his way back into the team’s bench.
Ramos finished with 16 points while JR Cawaling also finished with 10 for the Tamaraws. Oda Tampus scored eight for the Green Archers, while Webb and rookie Norbert Torres both finished with six for the Green-and-White Squad, who will next face arch-rival Ateneo in another highly anticipated match-up next Saturday, July 16.
FEU 74 – Garcia 21, Ramos 16, Cawaling 10, Cruz 9, Romeo 6, Bringas 5, Tolomia 3, Escoto 2, Exciminiano 2, Sentcheu 0, Pogoy 0, Knuttel 0
DLSU 65 – Revilla 18, de la Paz 9, Tampus 8, Van Opstal 5, Webb 5, Torres 4, Marata 4, Andrada 4, Gotladera 2, Vosotros 2, Atkins 2, Villanueva 1, Mendoza 1, Sara 0
Quarter scoring: 18-18, 35-33, 52-45, 74-65