The Games that Play Us: RR Happened

The Tamarws whoop it up after a rousing comeback win.
(image by Diana Moraleda/ 

FEU Tamaraws over the UP Fighting Maroons, 59-53

Any UP fan would’ve been elated seeing the Maroons atop, 51-35, against the FEU Tamaraws with less than 8 minutes to go in the fourth quarter. The Diliman five, after all, were doing really well. They hit some big shots to erect the aforementioned lead. Paolo Romero had a breakout game despite his right cheek being cut early in the match. And their defense was able to limit FEU’s scorers up till that point.

Up till that point. In retrospect, that phrase is right on the money.


Because something, or someone, happened in the last 8 minutes of this game. Just when it looked absolutely certain that UP would sweep FEU in Season 74, last year’s MVP proved once again what makes him so valuable.

So what happened? RR Garcia happened.

So why did UP lose? RR Garcia. Simple as that.
(image by Joseph Nebrida/
Garcia unloaded majority of his 25 markers in a magnificent 24-2 run that sapped all the energy from the sparse UP crowd. As Garcia shot the Tamaraws to only their 5th win in 9 games, UP shot themselves out of the game once again. The Maroons opted to continue hoisting jumper after jumper, and that only helped quicken their tragic collapse.

In all, UP attempted 29 shots from beyond the arc. They made only 6, with the streaky Mike & Mike pairing combining for just 4-of-22 from the parking lot.

Garcia, in stark contrast, had one of his best shooting performances of the season. He shot 10-of-16 from the field, including all 3 of the Tams’ threes. He was ably supported on the offensive end by Carl Bryan Cruz, who continues to surprise, finishing with 11 point on 5-of-9 shooting. Aldrech Ramos had an off night from the field, but he did lord it under the basket with 14 caroms and 1 block to go along with 4 assists and 1 steal.

Perhaps coach Ricky Dandan’s wards should’ve gone to Romero’s hot hand instead of UP’s backcourt duo in the clutch. The freshie was sizzling from the field – he shot 8-of-12 to go along with 6 boards and 1 rejection. Hindsight, however, is 20/20, and it also might have been a little riskier had the Maroons placed the game in the hands of the former Ateneo High standout.

Hanging their heads is becoming a bad
post-game habit for the Maroons.
(image by Joseph Nebrida/
So the Maroons sink deeper in the standings at 2-7 while FEU scrapes to 5-4. FEU has a chance to better their slate on Sunday, though the red-hot Adamson Falcons will prove to be a more-than-capable foil to coach Bert Flores’s machinations. UP, meanwhile, won’t have much time to reflect on their breakdown as they play, also on Sunday, against the NU Bulldogs, whose own chief gunner, Ray Parks, just came off a 31-point effort. It might still be too soon for UP to call it quits, but since their best-case scenario is an improbable 7-7 at the end of the elims, thinking ahead to Season 75 might not be a bad idea either.

FEU 59 – Garcia 25, Cruz 11, Ramos 8, Exciminiano 6, Romeo 4, Escoto 2, Pogoy 2, Tolomia 1, Bringas 0, Foronda 0, Knuttel 0, Mendoza 0
UP 53 – Romero 17, Gamboa 10, Silungan 10, Manuel 6, Maniego 4, Juruena 4, Montecastro 2, Gingerich 0, Mbah 0, Wong 0
QS: 15-15, 25-32, 35-48, 59-53

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