Bulldogs trim Tams in OT, gain Final 4By Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
National University had fought hard in the boardroom, but the Bulldogs fought even harder on the hardcourt.
Ray Parks knocked in NU’s last five points in the final 31 seconds as the Bulldogs slipped past Far Eastern University in overtime, 84-81, yesterday to clinch a UAAP Final Four berth in the men’s basketball tournament at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Parks posted a game-high 27 points, the last two on clutch free throws with 16.7 ticks remaining, as the Bulldogs won the replay of their second-round encounter and nailed their first semifinal stint since 2001.
With NU’s victory, University of Santo Tomas earned the No. 2 slot outright and the twice-to-beat edge behind top-seeded Ateneo.
NU and FEU wound up tied with idle La Salle at 9-5, but the Bulldogs secured the No. 3 spot due to a superior quotient. The Tamaraws and the Archers will dispute the last semifinal berth on Wednesday.
The Bulldogs launched a 9-0 comeback, capped by back-to-back triples from Mark de Guzman and Parks, to wrest the lead, 82-79, with 31.4 seconds left after trailing, 73-79.
Emmanuel Mbe also came out with a near-perfect outing, missing only two of 14 attempts from the field to finish with 25 points, 13 rebounds and no turnover.
God-given second chance
“I told the boys, let us not waste the opportunity. God gave us a second chance,” said NU coach Eric Altamirano.
The Tamaraws won their last meeting against the Bulldogs, 77-75, but the UAAP board nullified the victory, first upheld by commissioner Ato Badolato, after ruling that the buzzer-beating shot of FEU’s RR Garcia was “inconclusive and unclear.”
“This season we had a lot of close games where we always crumbled in the end,” said Altamirano. “I told the guys those things happened for a reason. And this is the reason—it made us tougher.”
“We’ve been through a lot of bad breaks this season, but our determination paid off,” said Parks, the reigning MVP.
FEU tried to forge a second overtime but Russel Escoto missed a triple at the buzzer.
“The intensity, the aggressiveness and the effort were there, but we just had some lapses in our execution in the endgame,” said FEU coach Bert Flores.
Terrence Romeo paced the Tamaraws with 25 points, while Cris Tolomia—who forged the extension with a floater with 39 seconds left— teamed up for 23 points with RR Garcia.
14-0 sweep of eliminations
Earlier, FEU completed a 14-0 sweep of the eliminations in women’s action to claim an outright title berth.
Allana Lim had 23 points as the Lady Tamaraws downed the Lady Bulldogs, 58-50.
But NU, with Reggie Morido topscoring with with 24 points, foiled FEU’s sweep bid in the juniors’ division as the Bullpups tripped the Baby Tamaraws, 80-75, with Hubert Cani nailing a key three-point play.
First Game (Women)
FEU 58—Lim 23, Borja 14, Columna 9, Soriano 6, Sambile 6, Astrero 0, Valenzona 0, Lozano 0, Supnet 0, Siat 0, Gesalan 0, Owatan 0, Tanaman 0.
NU 50—Paig 18, Laquindanum 11, Tolentino7, Miranda 6, Bernardino 6, Bonleon 2, Tongco 0, Pama 0, Oriel 0, Antiquiera 0, Alla 0, Abriam 0.
Quarters: 8-10, 21-16, 34-32, 58-50
Second Game (Jrs)
NU 80—Morido 23, Cani 20, Atangan 16, Cauilan 8, Battad 5, Lapiz 4, Busa 3, Canynay 1, Mosqueda 0, Dela Cruz 0, Biteng 0, Banawan 0.
FEU 75—Pingoy 22, Aguilon 16, J. Domingo 12, R. Domingo 6, Lee 6, Escoto 5, You 4, Delfinado 4, Completo 0, Hassan 0.
Quarters: 14-16, 38-35, 58-59, 80-75
Third Game (Srs)
NU 84—Parks 27, Mbe 25, Neypes 7, Alolino 7, Javillonar 6, De Guzman 5, Betayene 5, Singh 2, Villamor 0, Roño 0, Khobuntin 0.
FEU 81—Romeo 25, Garcia 13, Tolomia 10, Hargrove 7, Pogoy 6, Mendoza 5, Escoto 5, Belo 4, Foronda 3, Bringas 3, Cruz 0.
Quarters: 23-20, 37-42, 60-55, 73-73 (reg.) 84-81 (OT)