NU escapes huge FEU comeback for improbable season sweep
MANILA, Philippines – The NU Bulldogs averted a massive endgame disaster at the hands of the FEU Tamaraws to escape with an 85-79 overtime win in the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, October 9.
The Bulldogs – who allowed the Tamaraws to stage a 17-0 run in regulation – opened the extra period with a quick 8-0 run, capped off by a pair of threes from Dave Ildefonso and Clemente at the 2:40 mark to take control of the game.
Prior to Xyrus Torres and Ken Tuffin conspiring for 5 quick FEU points, NU calmly sank their foul shots off aggressive drives to retain an 84-79 lead in the last 15 seconds.
Ildefonso finished with a game-high 27 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulldogs.
With the series sweep, the cellar-dwelling Bulldogs rose to 2-7 for the season while the Tamaraws tripped down to 5th place at 4-5.
In the first round, the Bulldogs scored their lone win against the Tamaraws in a 61-39 stunner.
"We just came back to basics. What was the formula? Going back to basics and staying in level one," said NU coach Jamike Jarin.
Issa Gaye also tallied a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, while John Lloyd Clemente had 15 points and 8 boards for the Bulldogs
Down 15 points midway through the 4th quarter, FEU key cogs Alec Stockton and Royce Alforque sparked a massive 17-0 fightback, ending with a go-ahead Alforque layup, 67-65, in the last two minutes of regulation.
Ildefonso doused the run with a quick triple at the 1:18 mark, 68-67, but FEU big man Barkley Ebona raced back the other end for the crafty pump-fake layup to retake the lead.
Sophomore guard L-Jay Gonzales, however, failed to take care of the ball in the waning seconds as his turnover off an Issa Gaye steal turned to a cold-blooded go-ahead trey by John Lloyd Clemente, 71-69, with 19.8 ticks left.
Off the timeout, Ebona then bullied his way for to the bucket for the quick tying layup, 71-all, with 14 seconds left.
JV Gallego then took matters into his own hands with a fading long two from the corner, but his shot merely caught air as time expired.
NU 85 – D. Ildefonso 27, Gaye 16, Clemente 15, Oczon 8, Gallego 5, Minerva 4, S. Ildefonso 3, Galinato 2, Malonzo 2, Rangel 2, Yu 1, Diputado 0, Joson 0, Mangayao 0, Tibayan 0.
FEU 79 – Ebona 15, Alforque 11, Comboy 11, Stockton 9, Tchuente 9, Torres 9, Tuffin 7, Gonzales 6, Bienes 2, Cani 0, Nunag 0.
Quarters: 15-13, 39-32, 62-47, 71-71 (reg.), 85-79 (OT).