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Tamaraws take Game 1 of UAAP Finals

Alfred Aroga swats Mike Tolomia's layup. Ivan Saldajeno 
By Ivan Saldajeno

The FEU Tamaraws leaned on a third quarter blitz to defeat the NU Bulldogs, 75-70, at the start of the best-of-3 UAAP men's basketball finals at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The Tamaraws, who trailed for most of the first half, outscored the Bulldogs, 25-12, in the third period to open a 60-50 lead entering the fourth.

But the Bulldogs made a 9-4 run to cut the lead to five, 64-59, at the halfway point of the payoff period.

Francis Tamsi scored a three to ignite a 5-1 counter rally to extend the lead to nine, 69-60.

NU then scored the game's next five points to come to within four, 65-69, with 1:24 remaining.

But Roger Pogoy broke free of the pressure defense to score an open layup to put the FEU lead back to six, 71-65, with 1:17 to go.

J-Jay Alejandro, who struggled the whole game, fired a triple in the next play to cut the lead further to three, 71-68, in the next play.

But Mac Belo scored against the defense of Alfred Aroga to stretch the lead back to five, 73-68, with 44 seconds left.

Alfred Aroga got fouled by Anthony Hargrove while going for the layup.

Aroga split from the line, but Gelo Alolino grabbed the loose ball and got fouled by Raymar Jose.

Alolino, who buried the game-winning free throws in NU's Final Four series against Ateneo, only made one of two free throws, and the FEU lead was three, 73-70, with 38.4 seconds left.

The Tamaraws missed the basket in the next play, and the Bulldogs got the possession after a loose ball.

But the FEU defense tightened in the end as Glenn Khobuntin was forced to a wild three-point try that he badly missed.

Tamsi sealed the win with two free throws on the other end.

Mike Tolomia led the Tams, who are gunning for their 20th title, with 15 points, six rebounds, and three assists.

Pogoy scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half, ten coming in the pivotal third quarter, to backup Tolomia.

Aroga had a game-high 17 points and eight rebounds for the Bulldogs, but he only made five of ten charities overall.

Alolino, on the other hand, only converted 3-of-7 from the free throw line as the Bulldogs shot 15-of-31 as a team.

Box Scores:

FEU 75-Tolomia 15, Pogoy 14, Inigo 12, Belo 8, Hargrove 8, Jose 8, Dennison 5, Tamsi 3, Cruz 2, Ru. Escoto 0

NU 70-Aroga 17, Alolino 14, Rosario 12, Khobuntin 9, Celda 7, Javelona 3, Betayene 3, Alejandro 3, Diputado 2, Neypes 0, Perez 0

Quarterscores: 14-15, 35-38, 60-50, 75-70
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