Despite losing their lead in the fourth quarter, the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws fended off a University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers comeback, 67-62, in Game 3 of the UAAP Season 78 Finals to nab the Morayta-based squad it’s 20th UAAP basketball championship.
After leading for most of the second half, the Tamaraws withstood a 16-0 UST run that bridged the third and fourth quarter and resulted in a Tigers lead, 51-57, at the 6:03 mark. FEU then countered with a 10-3 run punctuated by a Roger Pogoy three-pointer that put the lead for good with FEU, 61-60, with 1:27 left to play and was followed by a Mike Tolomia layup that padded on the lead.
UST responded, however, with two free-throws from Ed Daquioag that cut the lead to a point with 54.3 seconds left to play but it would prove to be the Tigers last points of the season as the Espana-based squad failed to score in any of their possessions. The Tamaraws iced the game with a free throw conversion each from Tolomia and Mac Belo and two conversions from Francis Tamsi that put the nail in UST’s coffin.
“Na-tyambahan lang talaga na ako yung libre. Ang ganda kasi nung pasahan namin nila Mac (Belo)” said Roger Pogoy of his crucial go-ahead three-pointer.
Pogoy tallied 14 points and six rebounds while Mac Belo, who was ajudged the Finals MVP, tallied 23 points and eight rebounds in his final collegiate game.
“Patay kung patay”, Belo recalled after the game referring to Coach Nash Racela’s instructed mantra before the game.
Ed Daquioag tallied 21 points and four rebounds in a losing effort for the Tigers while Kevin Ferrer, after scoring 29 points in Game 2, was held to only six points on a 2-of-7 shooting clip.
FEU: Belo 23, Pogoy 14, Tolomia 13, Tamsi 6, Ru. Escoto 5, Inigo 3, Jose 2, Orizu 1, Dennison 0, Arong 0, Ri. Escoto 0, Trinidad 0.
UST: Daquioag 21, Abdul 12, Lee 9, Ferrer 6, Vigil 6, Lao 6, Bonleon 2, Sheriff 0, Faundo 0, Huang 0.