Sweet 60! Bulldogs rout Tamaraws in Game 3 to end 60-year title drought

3 years ago

A 60-year title drought finally ends for an embattled team that dwelled in the cellar for so very long.

In front of a record-breaking crowd of 25,118, the National University Bulldogs defeated the Far Eastern University Tamaraws 75-59 Wednesday afternoon at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum to win their first Universities Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball title since 1954.

With former Philippine President and NU alumnus Fidel V. Ramos in attendance, the Bulldogs used a huge third quarter run to put the pressure on the Tamaraws. The fourth quarter was more coronation than competition as FEU’s implosion was completed when Raymar Jose was thrown out of the ball game at the 1:51 mark of the fourth after committing his second unsportsmanlike foul. Graduating Bulldog Glenn Khobuntin gave NU a 73-57 lead to put the game away.

Alfred Aroga led NU with a monstrous 24-point, 18-rebound effort. NU’s dominant import who was not able to play for the Bulldogs last season was named the Finals MVP.

Gelo Alolino and Khobuntin added a combined 22 points and 15 rebounds.

The victory ended 60 frustrating years for a school that for so long was regarded as the doormat of the league. It was also the fifth straight do-or-die game that the Bulldogs won this season, stretching back to their one-game playoff for fourth place against the UE Warriors which was followed by their Final Four conquest of top seed Ateneo where they overcame a twice-to-beat disadvantage.

And after the Tamaraws captured Game 1, the Bulldogs bounced back and tied the series at one game apiece with a convincing Game 2 win.

The Main Man: NU started slow with Aroga riding the bench. When he stepped into the game, the Bulldogs quickly took the lead and never looked back. FEU simply could not find a way to defend NU’s import as he scored at will and gobbled up every loose ball he could get his hands on.

Honorable Mentions: Alolino and Khobuntin both played great games as they hit timely baskets while making sure that their younger teammates never took their focus out of the game.

Game Turning Point: Jjay Alejandro’s six points late in the third quarter sapped the energy out of FEU. However, it was NU’s game long brilliance on defense that spelled the difference for them. The Tamaraws never got themselves going as NU took away most of their options, forcing them to rely mostly on Tolomia.

They Said It:

Eric Altamirano: I’m thankful that we got Alfred. He’s not just a good player. He’s a great guy. We lost most of our starters but there was something special about this team. More than myself, I give it to our boys. They really love playing for each other. Di talaga sila bumibigay.

Alfred Aroga: It feels really great to be here because we went through a lot. Teams that win championships have a story, and we have a story.

The scores:

NU 75: Aroga 24, Alolino 12, Khobuntin 10, Alejandro 10, Neypes 8, Rosario 6, Diputado 5, Javelona 0, Salim 0, Perez 0, Betayene 0.

FEU 59: Tolomia 23, Belo 17, Dennison 6, Cruz 4, Jose 4, Inigo 3, Hargrove 2, Tamsi 0, Pogoy 0, Ugsang 0, Escoto 0, Escoto 0.

Quarters: 20-18, 30-26, 55-44, 75-59