MANILA, Philippines -- Roger Domingo hit a booming triple as FEU-Diliman survived the limited stint of MVP Jerie Pingoy in a hard-earned 78-77 victory Sunday over defending juniors champion National University (NU) Bullpups that moved the Baby Tams closer to the plum.
Domingo's clutch shot from the beyond the arc capped a gutsy fightback by the Baby Tams from seven points down in the last 3:07, with Joshua Aguilon (11 points) filling in for Pingoy, who struggled with 16. Pingoy sat out the first three minutes of the fourth due to injury and was hobbled with foul trouble when he came back in, fouling out with 1:07 left.
"We just focused on our defense since we're having difficulty making shots. Pingoy struggled, fouled out and fortunately, Aguilon stepped up. Even though we're down by seven, we never gave up on defense, believing we can still do it," said Baby Tams coach Michael Oliver.
He said Pingoy's disqualification was a blessing in disguise. "NU's defense was thrown off in the crucial part since they didn't know who would take charge without Pingoy," he added.
Joel Lee Yu backstopped Pingoy with 12 points while Domingo, Aguilon and Jeson Delfinado had 11 apiece for the Baby Tams, who will go for the clincher on Thursday.
Raphael Atangan fired 23 points for NU, but he couldn't get hold of the leather in NU's final offensive against Lee Yu, sealing their downfall.
FEU 78 - Pingoy 16, Lee Yu 12, Delfinado 11, R. Domingo 11, Aguilon 11, J. Domingo 8, Escoto 4, Completo 2, Belgica 2, Lumba 1, You 0, Palacio 0.
NU 77 - Atangan 23, Morido 16, Cani 16, Busa 10, Battad 6, Lapiz 4, Canaynay 2, Mosqueda 0, dela Cruz 0, Claveria 0, Cauilan 0, Castillo 0, Biteng 0, Banawan 0.
Quarterscores: 15-12, 40-31, 50-55, 78-77.