FEU clinches first Final Four berth after escaping UE

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 24, 2015 07:24 PM
FEU clinches first Final Four berth after escaping UE
KINGS OF THE EAST. After sweeping UE, FEU became first to Final Four.

Just as the University of the East was putting Far Eastern University’s place on top of the UAAP 78 Men’s Basketball Tournament in peril, lead guard Mike Tolomia went down and out of the game with a foot injury.

Injury still wasn’t enough to halt the Tamaraws’ rampage as Mac Belo and RR Pogoy provided an end-to-end masterpiece that sealed a 71-67 triumph over the Red Warriors on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.

Clinging to a one-point advantage and just having squandered four consecutive offensive possessions, Mac Belo denied Paul Varilla’s attempt to swing momentum back to UE before Pogoy drilled a booming triple that extended the Tamaraw lead to 69-65 with 1:32 remaining.

After the Warriors stayed in the game courtesy of a Nick Abanto quick hit followed by a defensive stop, FEU closed off the paint and forced two outside shots that went way off mark. Seconds later, Achi Inigo converted both free throws that moved the Tamaraws to 9-1 – the first team to enter the Final Four.

Pogoy missed four treys, but made the biggest one of the game to end with 12 points while Belo led the way with 16 of his own. Crediting the grit of his boys and the fight of their opponents, coach Nash Racela said in his post-game conference, “Scary when you play UE because you never give up. This was a tough win for us.”

Edson Batiller broke out of his slump to score 13 points which proved to fall short in preventing UE’s seventh loss in 10 tries.

BOX SCORES

FEU 71 – Belo 16, Pogoy 12, Inigo 11, Orizu 8, Jose 8, Escoto Ru 6, Tolomia 4, Escoto Ri 4, Arong 2, Tamsi 0, Dennison 0, Trinidad 0, Comboy 0

UE 67 – Batiller 13, Varilla P 10, Charcos 10, Abanto 8, Derige 8, Varilla J 7, Javier 5, Manalang 3, Palma 2, De Leon 1, Sta. Ana 0, Gonzales 0

QUARTER SCORES: 18-19, 34-34, 53-55, 71-67

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