MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) National University (NU) erased a double-digit deficit in the third quarter to stun Adamson University in overtime, 71-70, and advance to the finals of the 2022 FilOil EcoOil Preseason Cup.
The Bulldogs, unbeaten heading into the semifinals, trailed by 15 points in the second half but mounted a massive comeback behind Jake Figueroa and JM Galinato.
Galinato emerged as the hero for the Bulldogs, sinking three pressure-packed free throws with 1.2 seconds left in overtime to complete the comeback.
Galinato finished with 23 points on 7-of-15 shooting, while John Lloyd Clemente added 14 points. NU outscored the Soaring Falcons, 21-10, in the fourth quarter to force an extension.
"Paalala nga ni Coach Jeff, pinaglalaanan namin ng oras 'yun. Kaya nung na-foul ako, nakita ko one second na lang, sinabi ko sarili ko, ito 'yung pinaghahandaan ko. Buti naman, pumasok lahat," said Galinato after his clutch heroics.
Adamson had a 63-57 lead with 2:34 left in regulation off an and-1 by Joem Sabandal, but Galinato scored five straight points -- a three-pointer and a layup in transition -- to make it a one-point game, 63-62, with still 65 seconds left.
The Falcons blew a chance to regain the lead when Sabandal bricked an open layup, and NU knotted the count, thanks to a split at the line by foreign student-athlete Omar John. Adamson was forced to a 24-second violation in their next possession, but John couldn't give NU a lead when he missed a hook shot on the other end.
A last-ditch triple by Vince Magbuhos was way off mark, sending the game into an extra five minutes.
In overtime, Adamson snatched a 70-68 lead with just 55 seconds to go thanks to a layup by Jed Colonia. The Falcons appeared headed for the win when they forced Clemente to a missed three-pointer, but they couldn't pad their lead on their next possession and left just enough time on the clock.
Galinato fished for a foul against Joshua Yerro with just 1.2 seconds left, and calmly knocked down all three free throws to snatch the lead.
A possibly game-winning triple by Sabandal missed its mark as time expired.
"Alam naman nila kung san ako nagagalit. At least, ang positive, 'yung galit ko, naging challenge nila to come back strong," NU coach Jeff Napa said after they completed their comeback.
Adamson got 15 points from Cedrick Manzano, but no other player scored in double-digits. Sabandal had seven points on 3-of-14 shooting in the game. Their star point guard, Jerom Lastimosa, played less than 10 minutes, scoring six points on 2-of-2 shooting.
The Bulldogs remain unbeaten in 10 matches in the Filoil tournament. They will play the winner of the other semifinal game between La Salle and Far Eastern University in the finals.
This is NU's third finals appearance in Filoil, having won the tournament in 2012 before finishing as runner-up in 2013.
NU 71 -- Galinato 23, Clemente 14, Figueroa 6, Yu 6, Malonzo 5, John 4, Casinillo 4, Minerva 3, Manansala 2, Tibayan 2, Mahinay 2, Padrones 0, Palacielo 0.
ADAMSON 70 -- Manzano 15, Sabandal 7, Hanapi 7, Douanga 6, Flowers 6, Erolon 6, Lastimosa 6, V. Magbuhos 5, Yerro 5, Jaymalin 5, Colonia 2, Barasi 0, Torres 0, Maata 0, Dignadice 0.
Quarters: 14-6, 28-27, 42-53, 63-63, 71-70.