Resilient Bulldogs keep final 4 hopes burning, defeat hot shooting Tamaraws
MANILA, Philippines – The National University (NU) Bulldogs slipped past the fiery Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws, 87-84, on Wednesday, November 8 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
J-jay Alejandro's triple in the last 4:53 of the game pinned down the lead for the Bulldogs, 82-81.
The Bulldogs derailed FEU's entry into the final 4, overcoming the hot shooting from the deep of the Tamaraws who drained 18 triples. Those string of treys surpasses the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons' record of 16 triples in a single game made agaist the De La Salle Green Archers in the first round.
The Tamaraws shot the lights out with 11 triples in the first half, but the Bulldogs still managed to cut through their defense to prevent them from pulling away with the lead.
Arvin Tolentino drained 4 of the 11 from downtown and tallied 16 points at the half.
The Bulldogs rallied back in the third quarter to close in on the Tamaraws. Chino Mosqueda sank both his charities to give NU their first lead with 3:30 left in the period.
Wendel Comboy answered back with the triple to win back the lead for FEU, but Issa Gaye's jumper from the left corner tied the score at 62-all.
Matt Aquino banked a shot via an assist from Mosqueda to get the Bulldogs ahead by two points (64-62). But the Tamaraws responded with 10-0 run to close out the third period, punctuated by triples from Hubert Cani and Wendel Comboy.
Gaye resets his season-high with 24 points and grabbed 11 boards. Alejandro almost recorded a double-double as he chipped in 17 points and 9 assists while collecting 6 rebounds.
Tolentino and Ron Dennison scored 21 apiece, but the former registered a double-double as he grabbed 10 boards.
This win puts the Bulldogs at a 5-8 record, while the Tamaraws fall to a 6-7 record in the UAAP Season 80 men's basketball tournament.
NU (87) – Gaye 24, Alejandro 17, Joson 13, Mosqueda 8, Tibayan 7, Abatayo 6, Aquino 5, Diputado 4, Yu 2, Cauilan 1, Bartlett 0, Morido 0, Salem 0, Rangel 0, Lastimosa 0.
FEU (84) – Tolentino 21, Dennison 21, Comboy 16, Cani 14, Inigo 3, Tuffin 3, Ebona 2, Escoto 2, Orizu 2, Parker 0, Trinidad 0.
Quarter Scores: 19-27, 39-47, 64-72, 87-84.