UAAP: NU back in solo fourth place, edges FEU; UST no. 1
Defending champion National University scraped past Far Eastern University, 70-68, to move back in solo fourth place in the UAAP Season 78 men’s basketball tournament Saturday night at Mall of Asia Arena.
NU captain Gelo Alolino made the game-winning jumper that froze the final score with 33.5 seconds left , nailing the short stab after freeing up from the double-team of Alfrancis Tamsi and Prince Orizu.
“We will not hesitate from giving Gelo the ball in the end. I’m really thankful to have Alolino in our team,” said coach Eric Altamirano of his lead guard.
FEU guard Mike Tolomia had the chance to send the game to overtime, but his floater over Alfred Aroga rattled out as time ran out.
Alolino once again came through for NU with 20 points, 15 coming in the second half, along with four rebounds and three assist while Aroga tallied a double-double with 16 markers and 12 rebounds.
“We knew how important this game is. We told the boys that we wanted to do our job, control what we can control, winning this game is very important to us, and we were able to accomplish that,” said Altamirano.
The Bulldogs gained a half-game lead over idle De La Salle with a 7-7 record with one game day left in the elimination round.
NU’s victory also booted University of the East out of Final Four contention, awarded the top seed to University of Santo Tomas and sealed the semifinals matchup between No. 2 FEU and third seed Ateneo.
Tolomia had nine of his 23 points in the fourth, but his most important basket failed to find the bottom of the net as FEU fell for the second straight game.
The Tamaraws could still secure the second twice-to-beat slot with a win against La Salle on Wednesday, which would also give NU the automatic pass to the Final Four.
NU 70 – Alolino 20, Aroga 16, Celda 9, Javillonar 9, Javelona 6, Diputado 4, Alejandro 2, Neypes 2, Salim 2, Abatayo 0, Morido 0.
FEU 68 – Tolomia 23, Arong 10, Ru. Escoto 9, Pogoy 8, Belo 8, Tamsi 5, Ri. Escoto 2, Iñigo 2, Orizu 1, Eboña 0, S. Holmqvist 0, Trinidad 0.
Quarters: 14-17, 32-31, 51-50, 70-68.
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