FEU ends La Salle's 7-game win streak, grabs solo first place

MANILA, Philippines - The Far Eastern University Tamaraws overcame a slow first half and held strong in the endgame to escape the De La Salle Green Archers, 74-70, and end the defending champions' 7-game win streak along with grabbing solo first place in the standings in the men's basketball tournament of UAAP Season 77 on Wednesday, August 27 at the Mall of Asia Arena. 

Mike Tolomia, who had only 3 points in the first half, finished with 22 points and sank FEU's final 3 points to come away with the win and an 8-2 win-loss record. 

After La Salle sliced FEU's 69-61 lead with 3 minutes left and made it just a 71-70 game with less than 10 seconds on the clock, Tolomia trooped to the line for two shots to ice the contest. 

Tolomia put in the last-second dagger basket after missing his second free throw with 7.3 seconds to go as La Salle was caught napping on the rebound play. 

The win comes at a good time for the Tamaraws, who swept La Salle in the eliminations, as head coach Nash Racela will be leaving Wednesday night for duties with Gilas Pilipinas at the FIBA World Cup in Spain. He will be missing two games for FEU.

La Salle dominated in the first half largely thanks to their 35-20 edge over FEU in rebounding. The Tamaraws began picking up steam in the third, trimming a 35-26 halftime deficit to 37-33 two minutes in.

Midway in the third, Mike Tolomia tied the contest for only the second time in the game, 44-all, with a turnaround jumper as FEU relied on its defense to keep La Salle on a short leash.

But Teng was not to be stopped as he scored 4 straight points to give the Archers some cushion, 48-44. La Salle could have easily padded on the lead had they made their free throws in the ensuing possessions but FEU was able to get some baskets to go until they finally grabbed hold of the lead heading into the final frame, 52-51 - also only for the second time at that point - on a split from the line by Russel Escoto. - Rappler.com