THE Far Eastern University Tamaraws were in control for three quarters.
But when the fourth period came, the National University Bulldogs turned the tables around and shocked the Tams, scoring an 87-84 win yesterday to stay in contention in the 80th University Athletic Association of the Philippines men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.
Issa Gaye tallied a game-high 24 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Bulldogs to their third consecutive win and fifth overall in 13 games. His two charities with 2:58 to go off Richard Escoto’s foul gave NU an 86-81 edge.
Antonio Joson then iced the win with a split charity in the last 13.5 seconds.
Jayjay Alejandro sank 11 of his 17-point output in the fourth to lead NU.
The Bulldogs, drawing 13 points from Joson, remained in the hunt for a Final Four seat, but they have to beat the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons to keep their chances alive.
“We outscored FEU. But it was possession by possession,” said NU coach Jamike Jarin.
Arvin Tolentino showed the way for FEU with Ron Dennison after both knocked in 21 points. Tolentino could have forced an overtime but missed his triple attempt in the last 0.3 seconds.
The Tams, getting 16 points from Wendell Comboy, now have a 6-7 record at fourth spot and are in trouble of not making it to the Final Four for the first time in five years.
After NU tied the count at 64-all in the third, the Tams regained the lead on a triple and a layup from Hubert Cani, 67-64.
A trey from Comboy at the end of third allowed FEU to enjoy a 72-64 spread.
Another triple from Comboy and a layup from Cani with 8:13 left gave FEU a 79-64 spread.
With Gaye taking charge underneath in the last 10 minutes, the Bulldogs unleashed a 15-2 run. Alejandro’s split freebie in the last 5:19 put the Bulldogs with range, 79-81.
Alejandro’s triple and driving shot past Alejandrino Inigo in the final 3:47 then allowed NU to take charge, 82-79.
FEU tied the match for the last time at 84-all off Dennison’s three-pointer in the last 1:53.