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Pogoy, Arong heat up late as FEU ousts La Salle

R.R. Pogoy's 11-point blitz highlighted the game-turning 20-4 run for FEU. (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--When La Salle built a 52-37 cushion late in the third quarter of its must-win UAAP game on Wednesday night, many began anticipating a rubber match with NU for the last Final Four seat on Saturday.

Then R.R. Pogoy and Monbert Arong happened.

Pogoy and Arong sizzled in the fourth quarter as FEU completed a comeback from 15 points down for a 71-68 win that effectively eliminated La Salle from Final Four contention at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Pogoy scored all of his 11 points, while Arong added six in the final period to lift the Tamaraws over the Green Archers, and they completed the rally with their key starters, Mac Belo and Mike Tolomia, resting for most of the quarter.

With virtually nothing to lose as it already got a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four but looking to win to get some momentum going against Ateneo, FEU got stifled by La Salle in the second quarter, only making seven points in the period and falling behind, 29-38, at the half. The latter eventually extended the lead to 15 with 51 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

The Tamaraws, however, scored eight unanswered points in 45 seconds to cut the lead to seven before a Prince Rivero basket stretched the Archers' lead back to nine at the end of the third.

The Archers then turned the Rivero's buzzer-beater to a 5-0 mini-run as Jeron Teng opened the fourth quarter with a three-point play to reestablish a 12-point advantage, 57-45, with 7:21 remaining in the period after a two-and-a-half-minute dry spell.

But all of Pogoy's 11 markers plus a shot from Arong capped a 20-4 FEU run to give the team the lead, 65-61, with 2:08 left in the game.

Rivero scored at the other end to pull La Salle to within two, but Arong answered with his own bucket and the lead was four again with 1:28 remaining.

Teng cut the gap anew to one, 67-66, with another and-one play with 1:20 remaining, and his team got a crack at the lead after Arong failed to counter in the next play.

Josh Torralba failed to convert a triple with 38 seconds left, but the Archers got the ball back as Ken Holmqvist threw the ball away after the rebound.

Teng, however, narrowly missed a fly-by move, and Steve Holmqvist secured the board.

Steve Holmqvist botched his two free throws off a Rivero foul, but the Tamaraws retained possession as Thomas Torres stepped on the baseline while getting the carom.

Teng was obliged to foul Arong, and the latter made up for Steve Holmqvist's missed charities by making two of his own with 12.8 seconds left.

With no timeout left for La Salle, Teng had to go coast-to-coast to convert a quick deuce with seven seconds remaining.

But Joe Trinidad scored on a breakaway with 0.9 second to go to seal the deal.

Andrei Caracut's desperation heave from three-quarter court failed to hit the mark at the final horn.

Arong finished with 13 points along with a rebound and an assist for FEU, which will face Ateneo in the semifinals on Saturday also at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Belo is the top scorer among FEU's starters with ten, while Tolomia only made two.

Teng ended up with 20 markers, nine boards, and five dimes for La Salle, which bowed out of contention on the final day of the eliminations with a 6-8 card.

The result catapulted NU to the Final Four outright and will take on UST in the other pairing on Sunday at the said venue.

Box Scores:

FEU 71-Arong 13, Pogoy 11, Belo 10, IƱigo 9, Ri. Escoto 8, Orizu 5, Ru. Escoto 4, Trinidad 3, Tamsi 2, K. Holmqvist 2, Tolomia 2, S. Holmqvist 2, Comboy 0, Ebona 0

La Salle 68-Teng 20, Rivero 16, Torralba 8, Torres 7, Perkins 6, Muyang 5, Caracut 3, Langston 3, Gob 0

Quarterscores: 22-19, 29-38, 45-54, 71-68

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