Bulldogs luck out, secure at least playoff for fourth-seed

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 14, 2015 07:21 PM
Bulldogs luck out, secure at least playoff for fourth-seed
GOOD AND LUCKY. Gelo Alolino hit the go-ahead basket before Mike Tolomia's game-tying attempt went in-and-out to give NU a much-needed victory to end the elimination round.

Mike Tolomia kept making incredible shots all fourth quarter long that his floater attempt that would have forced overtime of course looked to be on its way down the net.

But no, the ball went along the left part of the ring before rolling out to preserve National University’s 70-68 victory versus Far Eastern University in the UAAP Seaso 78 men's seniors basketall tournament on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

A beaming coach Eric Altamirano said in his post-game conference, “I think we did a good job on defense on that final play. Yung tira ni Mike, pumasok na, lumabas pa.”

As always, Gelo Alolino hit what proved to be the game-winning basket as part of his 20 points to lead the way in the Bulldogs’ third win in a row. By ending the elimination round with a 7-7 record, Alolino and his teammates are assured of at least an eliminator for the fourth and final playoff berth.

Talking about his team that’s still alive and kicking despite an up-and-down season, Altamirano said, “I’m so proud of my boys. They have unwavering faith in each other and our system.” The NU win officially ousts University of the East from contention and puts the heat on De La Salle University to win their remaining game to forge a tie and force a playoff for the fourth-seed.

As expected, the rematch between last year’s Finalists was a slugfest between heavyweights until Tolomia hit two triples from the same spot in a 6-2 blast that turned a one-point deficit into a 68-65 lead for FEU with 2:11 remaining.

True to form, however, the Bulldogs clamped down on defense and allowed no more points from that point as Pao Javelona drilled a corner trey to tie the game at 68 inside the last two minutes. The two teams then traded defensive stops before Alolino swished a midrange jumper with 33.5 seconds left for the winning margin.

Tolomia finished with 23 points, but his final attempt that went in-and-out sealed the Tamaraws’ first losing streak of the season. At 10-3, FEU is locked into the second-seed and will battle Ateneo de Manila University in the Final Four regardless of the outcome of their last elimination round game on Wednesday.

BOX SCORES

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.

QUARTER SCORES : 14-17, 32-31, 51-50, 70-68.

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