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FEU downs defending champ NU in finals rematch

Mike Tolomia had a total of 19 points, none more crucial than his back to back three pointers tolift the FEU against the defending UAAP MBT champions NU, 61-59. Pen Lazarte/Dugout Philippines
By JP Marquez

QUEZON CITY--Seeking for revenge was not the main agenda of the Tamaraws as they went head-to-head with NU on Wednesday night according to ace Mike Tolomia.

"Ni-remind kami ni coach Nash (Racela) na 'wag naming isipin 'yun. Laruin lang namin kung paano kami maglaro, kung paano namin nilaro yung ibang kalaban," said Tolomia after helping the Tamaraws escape the Bulldogs in a match that somewhat resembled a final.

Tolomia converted back-to-back crucial threes to lift FEU against defending champion NU, 61-59, in a rematch of last year's finals in the UAAP Season 78 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The defending champions opened the game with a 5-0 blast, but a Prince Orizu basket capped FEU's answer to take the lead at the end of the first quarter, 13-11.

With the combination of Gelo Alolino, Pao Javelona, and Alfred Aroga, the Bulldogs carried a lead heading into the dugout, 34-29.

After the break, Nash Racela's squad was fiery as the team held NU to only six points in the third while his boys contributed 16 for a 45-40 lead at the end of the third.

Tolomia opened the final canto with a three that helped them have the biggest lead in the game at 40-50.

But NU suddenly exploded as a 12-2 run tied the ballgame, 52-all, with under three minutes left.

Tolomia went clutch who hits a back-to-back three to take the lead ,58-52. Aroga finding his way in the paint, but his rival Orizu who followed up the missed free throw of Belo with a dunk.

Neypes answered a three and Alolino sank two free throws was not enough. NU even had a chance to even or tie the ball game when Tolomia missed a J and Aroga took the rebound but he passed it to a wrong man. 

"It was a good feeling to beat the champions. This is the first time that we're playing them after the championship loss," Racela said after the game.

Tolomia had a total of 19 points together with five dishes, while Belo contributed for nine points.

NU was spearheaded by Aroga, who had 17 points.

FEU will carry a 6-1 record towards the second round, tying UST on top, while the defending champion slid to 3-4.

Box Scores:

FEU 61-Tolomia 19, Belo 9, Pogoy 7, Escoto 5, Tamsi 4, Jose 4, Orizu 4, Arong 4, Trinidad 3, Escoto 2, Inigo 0, Holmqvist 0, Comboy, Ebona 0, Holmqvist 0.

NU 59-Aroga 17, Alolino 10, Neypes 10, Alejandro 7, Javelona 4, Morido 4, Abatayo 3, Salim 2, Tansingco 2, Diputado 0, Javillonar 0.

Quarterscoring: 13-11, 29-34, 45-40, 61-59.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @JPmarquez32