MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE) National University (NU) squandered a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter before recovering in overtime for a hard-earned 85-79 victory over Far Eastern University (FEU), Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The win was only NU's second of the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball tournament, and allowed them to sweep their season series against the Tamaraws. The Bulldogs routed the Tamaraws, 61-39, in the first round for their breakthrough victory of the year.
Dave Ildefonso put up 27 points and 11 rebounds, while Issa Gaye added 16 points and 10 boards for his own double-double. John Lloyd Clemente finished with 15 points, and hit big three-pointers in the fourth quarter and overtime.
"We just came back to basics in this game," said NU coach Jamike Jarin. "What was the formula? The formula was just basic. Believing, going back to basics, and just following instructions."
The Bulldogs were in control for most of the game, and led by as much as 18 points, 53-35, with 6:23 to go in the third quarter off a Migs Oczon three-pointer.
NU was still ahead, 65-50, with eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter when they surrendered a 17-0 run to FEU. The Tamaraws tightened up on defense, forcing the Bulldogs to rush shots and commit turnovers. Royce Alforque and Alec Stockton played a big role in their scoring spree, as they showed no fear of NU's interior defense and repeatedly slashed into the lane for lay-ups.
A bucket by Alforque gave FEU the lead, 67-65, with 2:04 left, before Dave Ildefonso responded with a booming three-pointer to shift the lead back to the Bulldogs. Barkley Ebona then scored inside for a 69-68 advantage with 65 seconds to play.
NU got another huge three-pointer, this time from John Lloyd Clemente, to seize a 71-69 advantage with 19.8 ticks to go. Ebona, again, came to FEU's rescue as he lumbered into the lane for the game-tying basket with 14 seconds left, and the Bulldogs flubbed a chance to get the win when JV Gallego's jumper fell short at the buzzer.
The Bulldogs were able to regain their composure in the extra period, however. They scored 8 points to open the overtime session, with Ildefonso and Clemente each nailing their three-pointers to help NU seize a 79-71 lead with 2:40 left.
FEU last threatened when Xyrus Torres fired up a three-pointer for an 83-77 spread with 32.9 ticks to go, but Clemente's split at the line helped the Bulldogs remain in control of the game.
NU improved to 2-7 in the season.
"Sila naman ang bida," said Jarin after the game, as he again brought his entire team into the post-game press conference.
The Tamaraws, meanwhile, failed to build on their win over University of the Philippines in their previous game and dropped to 4-5 instead.
Ebona had 15 points and 12 rebounds in the loss, while Alforque and Ino Comboy each scored 11 points. But FEU was undone by their foul-prone ways as they committed 23 fouls and gave up 28 free throws, of which NU made 16.
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.
Quarter scores: 15-13, 39-32, 62-47, 71-71, 85-79.
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