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Bulldogs equalize finals series versus Tamaraws

FEU's Carl Cruz looked for a recipient of his pass against NU's Troy Rosario. Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

National University banked on its stifling defense to tie its UAAP men's basketball finals series against FEU in front of 24,896 people with a 62-47 win in Game 2 of the best-of-three affair at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The Bulldogs stopped the Tamaraws early on as the latter was limited to only six points in the first quarter.

Troy Rosario, on the other hand, outscored the entire FEU squad in the first period as he scored half of NU's 18 points.

The Tams tried to inch closer as they limited the Bulldogs to eight points.

But the Bulldogs also put a good defensive stand of their own as the Tams only scored 12 in the second and the Bulldogs retained the lead, 26-18, at the half.

FEU looked to inch closer as it came to within six, 24-30, with 6:34 left in the third period.

NU, however, closed the quarter on a 13-6 run and even continued it to the fourth as a jumper from Rosario extended the lead to 15, 45-30.

The Tamaraws then put up a 14-5 run to cut the lead to six again, 50-44, with 2:46 left in the game.

But Gelo Alolino fired back-to-back triples to ignite the game-ending 12-3 run that sealed the Bulldogs' win, their first Finals win since winning the title in a one-game showdown in 1954 against the Tamaraws.

Rosario, who was crowned the Most Improved Player earlier in the day, finished with 19 points, 14 rebounds including nine offensive boards, and a block.

Glenn Khobuntin added 17 points, five rebounds, and three assists.

Mythical Five member Mac Belo led FEU with 17 points, six rebounds, two blocks, and an assist.

But he only made one of six three-point attempts even as Mike Tolomia needed 19 shots to make 15 points while only converting one of four treys as the Tams were limited to 28% shooting the entire game.

Also, FEU's 47 points was the least scored in a UAAP Finals game since 2003.

Box Scores:

NU 62-Rosario 19, Khobuntin 17, Alolino 12, Aroga 7, Diputado 2, Alejandro 2, Neypes 2, Javelona 1, Betayene 0, Perez 0

FEU 47-Belo 17, Tolomia 15, IƱigo 7, Pogoy 4, Jose 2, Cruz 2, Hargrove 0, Dennison 0, Tamsi 0, Ru. Escoto 0, Denila 0, Lee Yu 0, Ugsang 0, Ri. Escoto 0, David 0

Quarterscores: 18-6, 26-18, 43-30, 62-47
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