The Games That Play Us: Tight
by Enzo Flojo
Saturday, 28 July 2012
FEU TAMARAWS over ADU SOARING FALCONS, 65-62
Man, you gotta love these Tamaraws. They like it tight and down-the-wire.
This was the third game they played that was decided by less than a handful of points.
This was also their third straight win, and, consequently, they’re now at solo first with a 3-win 0-loss card.
But wait, that could’ve just as easily been a 0-win 3-loss card. That’s how tight their games have been.
What’s really impressive, however, is not exactly how FEU has beaten its foes, but WHO they’ve beaten.
UST by 1.
DLSU by 2.
Adamson by 3.
Yes, there’s a very elementary arithmetic pattern going on, but try not to focus on that. Focus, instead, on the fact that all three teams are potential Final Four teams this season (yes, include the Falcons there even if the depletion of their roster has been exposed and expressed too many times already).
Sure, they’ve yet to go up against, arguably, the top two teams this season (NU & Ateneo), but, at least based on how they’ve been playing these past few games, FEU fans can count on Coach Bert Flores’s boys to really give ‘em some hell.
And the guy most responsible for giving Coach Leo Austria hell in this encounter?
This was quite a surprise for me, since I’ve made no bones about critiquing his offense. In this game, he was not just offensively potent, he, quite literally, was making waves all over the hardwood. Romeo shot 9-of-15 from the floor and 4-of-4 from the line for a total of 23 points while also grabbing 8 rebounds, dishing out 6 assists, getting 2 steals, and blocking 2 shots. The only wrinkle, really, was his 1-of-5 clip from beyond the arc. This was easily Romeo’s best performance of Season 75 so far, and one of the best of any player bar none.
The difference between the Romeo in this match and the ones in FEU’s first two games? Shot selection. Once again, Romeo chucked the most shots of any Tamaraw, but he didn’t settle for straight up jumpers as often as he usually does. He drove to the hole, he finished on the break, and he was just outright on attack mode. It looked like he was out to prove something, and, unfortunately for Adamson, he did exactly that in this game.
As great as Romeo was, however, it was someone else who really became the x-factor for the Moraytans. That guy was FEU newbie Mark Belo, who came off the pine to score 9 markers, collar 9 caroms, distribute 2 dimes, get 1 theft, and reject 1 shot. Despite fouling out with less than 6 minutes to play, Belo was the picture of efficiency, and we’ll probably seem more of him as FEU continues to chug along.
A lot of credit should go Adamson’s way, though. More than a week after getting beaten by the Eagles, the Falcons had all the reason in the world to feel deflated, but in this game they were anything but. Allen Etrone was scorching from rainbow country, Rodney Brondial was solid down low, and Jericho Cruz had a relatively good all-around performance.
The guys who were missing were Adamson’s top two guys. Eric Camson scored 11 points, but he shot just 2-of-7 from the field and grabbed only 3 rebounds. Alex Nuyles, meanwhile, had only 2 points in 26 minutes of play. Needless to say, Adamson fans want a lot more from their much-ballyhooed stars.
I’m also sure FEU fans wouldn’t mind if their own ballyhooed stars would produce a blowout anytime soon (calling UP and UE), but, as long as they end up winning, they probably also wouldn’t mind these tight and down-the-wire ones.
Terrence Romeo (FEU) – 23pts, 8rebs, 6asts, 2stls, 1blk
Mark Belo (FEU) – 9pts, 9rebs, 2asts, 1stl, 1blk
Rodney Brondial (AdU) – 11pts, 7rebs, 1ast, 1blk