The Far Eastern University Tamaraws outlasted the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers, 67 to 62, in the third and final game of their finals series to win the championship in the 2015 UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
The two teams were tied at 30-all at the end of first half but the Tamaraws led by Mac Belo pulled ahead by ten points, 51 to 41, towards the end of third quarter.
Not allowing itself to be buried further, the Growling Tigers unleashed a 16-0 run bridging the third and fourth quarter to take the lead, 57-51. Belo’s decision to stay on the bench due to cramps greatly affected FEU’s offense during the same period.
Things began to turn around in the middle of fourth quarter when Belo returned to the game and with help from guard/forward Roger Ray Pogoy. From being down 53 to 59, the Tamaraws made a 14 to 3 run to prevail in the end. The Growling Tigers had multiple chances to score but they kept on missing shots or committing turnovers.
Belo ended the game with 20 points, earning for him the title of finals MVP or most valuable player. This is FEU’s first championship since 2005 and their 20th overall (they earned their first in 1938). The team also made it to the finals last year before losing to the National University Bulldogs in three games.
For their part, the Growling Tigers haven’t won a championship since 2006 when it prevailed over the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles. They last reached the finals in 2013, when they lost to the De La Salle University Green Archers.