MANILA, Philippines – The FEU Tamaraws are kings of UAAP basketball once again.
FEU outplayed the UST Growling Tigers late in game 3 to win, 67-62, to become the UAAP Season 78 men's basketball champion on Wednesday, December 2.
The Tamaraws leaned on big endgame baskets from graduating veterans Roger Pogoy and Mike Tolomia to claim its 20th championship, also its first since 2005.
FEU changed the outcome this year after falling short last season against the NU Bulldogs in a similar situation where they also won game 1 but faltered in game 2. (READ: UAAP title a 'breakthrough' for FEU basketball, says Racela)
Pogoy's cold-blooded go-ahead 3-pointer from the top of the key put the Tams on top 61-60 after being down by as much as 6 points with under 4 minutes to play.
Then FEU forced a turnover on UST that led to a Tolomia breakaway lay-up for the 63-60 advantage with over a minute remaining.
The Tigers had time to overturn the deficit but failure to execute doomed them to come short anew for the 3rd time in 4 years.
UST's mid-fourth quarter rally was led by graduating Ed Daquioag, who scored 10 of his team-high 21 points in that period.
Rookie Marvin Lee showed nerves of steel as he also buried a critical go-ahead 3-pointer during that UST run.
Mac Belo doused some water on the Tigers' rally before later on battling cramps to finish the game with a game-high 23 points, along with 8 rebounds. He was named Finals MVP.
After the final buzzer for Season 78 sounded, the FEU gallery paid tribute to its opponent with the famed "Go USTe!" cheer.
FEU gallery pays its respects to UST with the #GoUSTe cheer @rapplerdotcom #UAAPFinals pic.twitter.com/qsgwWBo8uE — Jane Bracher (@janebracher) December 2, 2015
To this, the UST gallery responded with FEU's "Let's go Tamaraws!" cheer. (READ: No regrets for UST's Ferrer despite UAAP finals fallout)
UST gallery returns the favor to FEU with the "Let's Go Tamaraws" cheer #BeBrave @rapplerdotcom #UAAPFinals pic.twitter.com/iAqyezqZK0 — Jane Bracher (@janebracher) December 2, 2015