Tamaraws charge into Finals behind Belo buzzer-beater

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 21, 2015 06:29 PM
Tamaraws charge into Finals behind Belo buzzer-beater
END OF AN ERA. Mac Belo's incredible follow-up ended the Ravena era in Ateneo and sent FEU right back in the Finals.

No, Kiefer Ravena wasn’t ready for his goodbye to collegiate basketball just yet.

But Far Eastern University wasn’t letting him extend his stay in the UAAP 78 Men’s Basketball either.

Mac Belo’s putback just as time expired lifted the Tamaraws to a thriller of a win against Ateneo de Manila University, 76-74, at the Araneta Coliseum, Saturday.

It wouldn’t have been possible, however, if not for RR Pogoy’s game-tying triple and then defense as well as Mike Tolomia’s smarts and aggressiveness. As coach Nash Racela put it in his post-win interview, “Si Mac naka-shoot nung huling tira, but it was a team effort.”

Ravena and Adrian Wong generated a massive fourth quarter surge and moved Ateneo in front, 74-71, with 2:20 remaining before Pogoy buried a huge triple in the face of great defense to tie the game at 74 with 67 seconds to go.

The Eagles gave the ball to Ravena at the other end, but Pogoy stopped him at every turn and stripped him of possession. FEU was unable to take advantage, however, and Wong found himself ahead of the pack at the other end.

Still, Pogoy chased him down and forced a miss before the Tamaraws charged right back down to their side of the court. Tolomia took it strong to the rim only to see his layup roll out.

Fortunately for FEU, Belo didn’t give up on the play and sent the ball back into the net for another one of his  game-winners. Racela’s Big Three merged for 44 points to power their team right back into the Finals.

Racela doesn’t want to guarantee anything just yet, however. “We can’t really say that it’s our time, but that’s the goal for us.”

The now back-to-back MVP finished his UAAP career with 25 points while 11-year partner-in-crime Von Pessumal had 15 markers of his own.

BOX SCORES

FEU 76 - Pogoy 16, Belo 15, Tolomia 13, Inigo 9, Dennison 6, Jose 5, Escoto 4, Orizu 4, Arong 4, Tamsi 0

ATENEO 74 - Ravena 25, Wong 17, Pessumal 15, Gotladera 8, Ikeh 4, Ma. Nieto 2, Go 2, Capacio 1, Babilonia 0, Black 0, Tolentino A. 0, Pingoy 0, Tolentino M. 0

QUARTER SCORES: 19-12; 38-32; 56-50; 76-74

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