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Tamaraws tame Tigers, sweep UAAP 1st round

August 7, 2010 6:00pm

Wily guard RR Garcia remained calm even when Far Eastern University fell behind by 11 points to University of Santo Tomas in the second quarter.

And when the Tamaraws came charging back, Garcia played like a silent assassin to help his team complete a seven-game sweep of the 73rd UAAP men’s basketball tournament first round.

FEU Tamaraws 7-0
La Salle Green Archers 4-2
Ateneo Blue Eagles 4-2
Adamson Falcons 4-2
UST Growling Tigers 3-4
NU Bulldogs 3-4
UE Red Warriors 1-5
UP Fighting Maroons 0-7

Garcia, the former RP Youth team standout, erupted for 10 of his 22 points in the final canto to help the Morayta-based squad defeat the Growling Tigers, 65-57, on Saturday at The Arena in San Juan.

FEU thus duplicated the same feat of its 2005 squad, the same year when the Tamaraws won its third straight title.

The Tigers fell to 3-4 to join National University from fifth to sixth spots.

The score was tied at 45-all after three quarters, but Garcia began his endgame heroics when he drained a booming triple just 40 seconds into the final canto.

A few minutes later, Garcia was at it again completing back-to-back steals off Jeric Teng and Jeric Fortuna, who already collared the rebound, then set up JR Cawaling’s back-to-back baskets that pushed FEU’s lead to 52-45 with 8:09 left.

But Garcia was not yet done.

He completed a three-point play, after a Teng foul, to give the Tams a 55-45 edge midway in the payoff period.

From there, the rest of coach Glenn Capacio's wards took over on defense and shut down UST's perennial scorers – Clark Bautista and Teng – to secure the win.

"We contained their perimeter players down the stretch. I think the last 12 minutes of the ballgame was the story because of our defense," said Capacio.

Garcia ended his game-long brilliance when he stripped Bautista of the ball in the dying seconds leaving Capacio speechless for a few seconds.

"It's becoming like a habit for him," said Capacio of Garcia, who also added four rebounds, one assist and three steals under his name. "As a coach, I'm confident because he's like a coach inside and he carries his team well."

FEU became the first team since University of the East in 2007 to sweep the first round. The last time the Tams did such feat was in 2005 when the likes of eventual MVP Arwind Santos led the Morayta-based dribblers to their last crown.

"Even though we went 7-0 in the first round, it's far from over," Capacio said. "We have to double our preparation heading into the second round because for sure our opponents will give us a hard time."

Smart-Gilas standout Aldrech Ramos finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds while Cameroonian Pipo Noundou scored six of his 12 markers in the payoff period to go with his eight boards.

Chris Camus tallied 16 points and 14 rebounds but UST fell to 3-4 after dropping its second straight game.

Not helping the Tigers' cause are Bautista and Teng's lethargic showing with the former shooting 4-of-13 from downtown for 12 points while the latter was held to two a single field goal in the second half. – JVP, GMANews.TV

FEU 65 - Garcia 22, Ramos 12, Noundou 12, Cawaling 6, Exciminiano 4, Cervantes 3, Romeo 2, Mendoza 2, Cruz 2, Bringas 0, Sanga 0, Knuttel 0.

UST 57 - Camus 16, Bautista 12, Teng 11, Afuang 10, Mariano 4, Pe 2, Fortuna 2, Wong 0, Mamaril 0, Daquioag 0, Aytona 0.

Quarter score: 10-15, 26-30, 45-45, 65-57.
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