NATIONAL University came out at the winning end of a close game for a change, outlasting Far Eastern University, 61-57, on Thursday in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Coming off a disappointing loss against University of Santo Tomas last week, the Bulldogs finally showed poise in the end game against the previously unbeaten Tamaraws after charging back from a 13-point deficit.
The Bulldogs improved their win-loss record to 3-2 as they atoned for their 71-77 defeat against UST last Saturday in a game where they led by as many as 13 points.
“The key is our composure,” said NU coach Eric Altamirano. “That is one of the things that is lacking in this team. We knew that FEU is going to be a test. This test will make us tougher and I commend the boys for their resiliency."
FEU slipped to a share of first place with defending champion Ateneo at 4-1 win-loss after the Blue Eagles defeated University of the Philippines, 76-70, in the day's opening game.
NU fell behind at 16-29 midway in the second period but managed to come back thanks to the efforts of Bobby Ray Parks.
Parks, who led the Bulldogs with 17 points, scored on a difficult lay-up over Arvie Bringas inside for a 57-55 lead with one minute and 36 seconds left in the fourth.
FEU tied the game on a Terrence Romeo stepback jumper that beat the shotclock but Parks scored the three of the final four points of the game and came up with a good defensive job against Romeo in the game's final play.
Romeo couldn’t escape Parks’ defense, leaving him with no choice but to throw up a desperation three-point attempt from way, way out.
Troy Rosario had 12 points and seven rebounds while Emmanuel Mbe added 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Bulldogs.
Romeo had 18 points for the Tamaraws but got little support from the rest of the team. Mark Belo and Mark Anthony Bringas each had eight points but RR Garcia was held to five points.
NU 61 — Parks 17, Rosario 12, Mbe 12, Alolino 6, Villamor 4, Javillonar 4, Rono 3, Betayene 2, De Guzman 1, Singh 0.
FEU 57 — Romeo 18, Belo 8, M. Bringas 8, Garcia 5, A. Bringas 5, Mendoza 4, Cruz 4, Hargrove 3, Escoto 2, Tolomia 0, Sentcheu 0, Pogoy 0.
Quarterscores: 12-15, 24-30, 46-47, 61-57.