Arong wins it for Tamaraws against Bulldogs

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 09, 2016 04:59 PM
Arong wins it for Tamaraws against Bulldogs
GO-TO GUY. Monbert Arong lifted FEU over NU for the second time in just four days.

With time ticking down and Alfred Aroga towering over him, Monbert Arong put the ball above his shoulder, but didn’t let it leave his hands just yet.

Aroga leapt up, Arong stepped forward to clear some airspace, and finally rose for a wide open jumper.

The ball touched nothing but net and proved to be the difference between Far Eastern University and National University in a 57-56 decision in their heavyweight bout on Sunday at the MOA Arena.

On the strength of Arong’s game-winner, the defending champions powered through to their fifth consecutive victory in the UAAP 79 Men’s Basketball Tournament from a 1-2 start. The last two of which coming against the Bulldogs whom they also defeated, 78-75, just last Wednesday.

Coach Nash Racela said he was nothing but happy that his hero for the day had enough to pull it off. “Actually, Monbert is playing hurt. Buti na lang nung huli, nagkaroon pa siya ng lakas,” he said.

Playing through a sprained ankle, the Tamaraws’ graduating guard still scored 13 points, including the game-winner, to backup team captain Raymar Jose’s usual workmanlike numbers of 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Still, FEU found themselves buried in an 11-point hole in the middle of the third quarter until Arong’s three at the end of the shot clock capped off a 22-8 burst that, all of a sudden, put them on top, 55-52, inside the last five minutes.

However, NU battled back to regain control and Josh Sinclair’s split granted them a one-point cushion with 46 ticks on the clock. The two teams then exchanged defensive stops before the Cebuano outwitted Aroga for what would ultimately be the go-ahead basket.

With 3.7 seconds still to go, Aroga could have won it for the Bulldogs, but his long two missed the mark.

Also happy with how his Tamaraws defended J-Jay Alejandro who scored a career-high 31 four days ago, Racela said, “Obviously, today we focused on Alejandro, pero si Aroga naman naging problema today.”

Indeed, Alejandro only had seven points to his name this time around while the hulking Cameroonian turned in his best scoring game of the season with 22 points

However, Aroga muffed on two free throws late that would have changed the complexion of the game. In all, he, Alejandro, and Sinclair went 2-of-6 from the line in the last three minutes to see NU fall to 4-4.

BOX SCORES

FEU 57 – Jose 14, Arong 13, Comboy 7, Trinidad 6, Escoto 5, Dennison 4, Holmqvist 3, Denila 2, Ebona 2, Orizu 1, Tuffin 0, Bayquin 0, Roxas 0

NU 56 – Aroga 22, Diputado R 8, Alejandro 7, Gallego 6, Sinclair 5, Morido 2, Pate 2, Go 2, Salim 1, Rangel 1, Salem 0, Diputado C 0, Mosqueda 0, Yu 0

QUARTER SCORES: 19-19, 30-32, 45-50, 57-56

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