FEU Tamaraws put shock end to La Salle quest for Final Four berth with big comeback
La Salle guard Thomas Torres weeps after the stunning loss to FEU. Dante Peralta

ROGER Pogoy hit key baskets in the endgame as Far Eastern University beat De La Salle, 71-68, on Wednesday, ousting the Green Archers from the Final Four race in the UAAP Season 78 men’s basketball tournament at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Pogoy scored 11 points in the final quarter while FEU stars Mac Belo and Mike Tolomia watched from the bench in a game the Tamaraws didn't need to win, including back-to-back three-pointers that completed a big comeback.

The loss put a stunning end to season of the Green Archers, who blew a 12-point fourth quarter lead and blew a chance to gain a playoff with National University for the fourth and last berth in the semifinals.

FEU finished the eliminations with an 11-3 win-loss card and, consequently, gave a free ride to the Final Four to National University, which faced a playoff for the last Final Four berth had La Salle won.

Instead, the Bulldogs now face top-seed University of Santo Tomas (11-3) in the semifinals while No. 2 FEU takes on No. 3 Ateneo, with the Tamaraws and Tigers holding twice-to-beat advantage.

La Salle missed the Final Four for the first time since 2011 after a 6-8 campaign that ended badly with a loss to what amounted to the Tamaraws' bench players.

“Going to the game, the intention was to keep our players fresh. Sabi  namin, even with those objectives, we will be going for the win. If we have a chance to win at the end, we will go for it,” said FEU coach Nash Racela.

Jeron Teng had 20 points while Prince Rivero added 16 points for the Green Archers, who blew a 52-37 lead in the third quarter after an FEU run led by Monbert Arong's 13 points. 

The Green Archers were still ahead 57-45 when the Tamaraws made a 22-6 run capped by an Arong basket, 67-63 with 1:31 left in the game.

Down 66-67, La Salle missed a golden opportunity to take the lead when Teng missed a lay-up. Arong made two free throws later on to make it a three-point game.

The scores:

FEU (71) — Arong 13, Pogoy 11, Belo 10, Inigo 9, Ri. Escoto 8, Orizu 5, Ru. Escoto 4, Trinidad 3, Tamsi 2, K. Holmqvist 2, Tolomia 2, S. Holmqvist 2, Comboy 0, Ebona 0.

DLSU (68) — Teng 20, Rivero 16, Torralba 8, Torres 7, Perkins 6, Muyang 5, Caracut 3, Langston 3, Gob 0.

Quarterscores: 22-19, 29-38, 45-54, 71-68.

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