Cruz proves the answer to FEU's prayers as Tamaraws outduel NU Bulldogs in overtime
Forward Mark Belo scored a career-high 23 points for the Tamaraws. Jerome Ascano

CARL Bryan Cruz buried the important baskets to lift Far Eastern University to a 74-70 overtime victory over National University on Sunday in the UAAP Season 77 men’s basketball tournament at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Mark Belo had a career-high 23 points while Mike Tolomia added 18 in the Tamaraws'r sixth win in eight outings but it was Cruz who came up with huge in the endgame, knocking in five of his nine points in the extra period.

Before that, Cruz kept FEU alive by nailing a short jumper to force overtime.

FEU coach Nash Racela said he was pleased to finally see the consistent play from the Tamaraws that he has been longing for.

“Again, we have to play the same regardless of who we play. Today, we played a Final Four team and they delivered,” said Racela.

The Bulldogs (5-3) lost for the second straight game against the Tamaraws this season, having dropped a 62-71 decision last August 9 to end their first round campaign.

Alfred Aroga had 17 points while Gelo Alolino added 14 including a triple that pulled the Bulldogs ahead, 65-63, with 1:11 left in the fourth. Cruz responded with a fadeaway shot over Aroga with 59.3 seconds to tie the game.

Cruz hit another jumper to give FE the lead, 68-65, to start the extra period. After splitting his two free throws, Cruz sank a jumper with 19.3 seconds left for a more comfortable 72-68 lead for the Tamaraws.

The scores:

FEU (74) – Belo 23, Tolomia 18, Cruz 9, Pogoy 9, Hargrove 8, Jose 4, Inigo 3, Tamsi 0, Dennison 0, Ru. Escoto 0, Denila 0.

NU (70) – Aroga 17, Alolino 14, Rosario 14, Javelona 8, Alejandro 7, Khobuntin 4, Diputado 3, Perez 3, Betayene 0, Neypes 0.

Quarterscores: 16-16, 32-27, 53-50, 65-65, 74-70.

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