The Games That Play Us: Be Like Mike

After sinking the game winner, Mike Tolomia has become
 the newest idol in Morayta. 


Cris Michael Tolomia is clutch.

And now a good number of kids who saw him sink the DLSU Green Archers probably want to be like him, or, at least, shoot like him.

The shot he made that finalized the result is the sort of shot any young basketball-toting kid practices in school during PE class, on the streets during summer, or at the village court every afternoon. And, at least to me, what makes Tolomia’s shot even more special is because it came from a source relatively under-the-radar in FEU’s whole scheme of things.

You see, coach Bert Flores has the luxury of having two of the highest-scoring guards in amateur basketball – RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo. UST knows all too well how Garcia can light up the scoreboard, and, well, Romeo isn’t exactly the shy-type when it comes to hoisting the rock. Aside from those two, of course, the Tams also have newcomer Anthony Hargrove down low. Hargrove, in only his second UAAP game, already seems to be better at some aspects than his predecessor, Aldrech Ramos. Defensively, they’re pretty much the same. They have great timing and length when blocking shots, and they clean glass really well. On offense, however, there is a stark difference. Whereas Ramos is content to wait for the put-back or settle for the mid-range J, Hargrove lives and breathes on the low block. In many ways, this is exactly what FEU needs. So lucky is Coach Flores that he can allow his opponents to just pick their poison.

What happens, though, when his big guns don’t click, like what almost happened here? Both Garcia and Romeo struggled with their shots, combining for just 6-of-28 from the field. The problem isn’t really that they made only 6 shots, but more how, again, Romeo took more shots than RR. Yes, perhaps we can give a ton of credit to Jed Manguera’s leech-like D on Garcia, but even then, one has to wonder why Romeo ends up with the bulk of the surplus shots. I’d much rather have them dump it down low to Hargrove, who shot 3-of-3 from the floor, and have him gobble up the opposing frontline. By the way, just 3 shots for Hargrove? And 8 shots for Arvie Bringas? Travesty. Arvie isn’t exactly the worst big man in the league, but no way he’s higher than Hargrove on the shot pyramid.

Shots weren’t exactly falling on the other end of the floor, too. The Tams converted a paltry 30% of their attempts, but the Archers were even worse, making just 28% of their field goals. The main culprits here are, ironically, two of DLSU’s top scorers (over their first two games) – Norbet Torres and Jeron Teng. Both guys paired up for just 2 points in the second half, and they shot just 5-of-24 overall. Torres rediscovered his love for anything beyond 15 feet, while Teng drove to the hole with a little too much reckless abandon.

Of course, DLSU’s offensive woes were also bcause of LA Revilla’s absence. Reports came in about the wily PG struggling with tendinitis, and the Greenies really missed him. There wasn’t anyone able to drive-and-draw like he did – Mac Tallo was all too happy dribbling the time away, while Almond Vosotros looks to have morphed into a shoot-first type of guard. Both guys dished out a combined 3 assists. Curiously enough, also absent was Luigi dela Paz. I certainly think DLSU could’ve used his speed and shooting, but he was benched instead. In contrast, Manguera played a whopping 19 minutes. He WAS able to contain RR, but his team paid for it by sacrificing offensive potency. Since this game ended up in the L column for La Salle, I’m not sure if coach Gee Abanilla will be favoring this tactic in their next encounter.

All in all, both teams struggled in this game, and it showed. Romeo was the only guy who scored in double-figures with 10 (I hope that doesn’t give him confidence to continue having more attempts than RR in their next few games), while four guys ended with only 8 markers each for DLSU. Collectively, both teams shot under 30% from the floor and only 55% from the stripe.

There was one guy, though, who didn’t struggle too much. This relatively unheralded guy made all his shots from the 2-point area, including the biggest of the game. He made the shot most kids practice and dream of making. His shot won the game and propelled FEU to solo first in the standings. His name is Mike, and I wouldn’t mind being like him.

Asst. Coach Johnny Abarrientos is pumped as
the Tamaraws scrape past the Archers.
Some color developed between former RP-Youth teammates
Jed Manguera and RR Garcia.


FEU 48 – Romeo 10, Tolomia 7, Hargrove 7, Pogoy 6, Garcia 6, Bringas A 5, Cruz 4, Belo 3, Mendoza 0, Escoto 0, Bringas M 0
DLSU 46 – Andrada 8, Vosotros 8, Mendoza 8, Torres N 8, Teng 6, Tallo 4, Van Opstal 2, Tampus 2, Torres T 0, Webb 0, Manguera 0
QS: 15-11, 23-26, 35-34, 48-46
Notable Performers:
Yutien Andrada (DLSU) – 8pts, 7rebs, 3blks
Anthony Hargrove (FEU) – 7pts, 6rebs, 3blks
Norbert Torres (DLSU) - 8pts, 12rebs, 3blks

 *All images are by Juan Benjamin Janeo/
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