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Tamaraws bounce back big in PCCL Elite Eight with victory over Chiefs

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The FEU Tamaraws used a huge fourth quarter rally to put away the Arellano University Chiefs, 84-72, at the Ynares Sports Arena, Pasig City. After suffering a beating from the USC Warriors in the Cebu leg of the PCCL last week, the Tamaraws managed to even out their standing at 1-1.

Mac Belo came out with a solid performance, finishing with 20 points after a subpar showing in the Tamaraws’ debut game in Cebu. But it was Mike Tolomia who sparked things up as he fired all of his 16 markers in the second half to go with six boards and two assists.

Both squads exchanged mini runs in the opening quarter. The Chiefs’ Dioncee Holts started out hot with five straight points but slowed down during the second and third quarters. The Chiefs held on to the driver seat in the first canto, 22-16, behind a balanced scoring effort. The second quarter seemed to be a repeat of the opening period as no squad managed to break away from the other.

Entering the third quarter with the Chiefs holding on to a slim two point lead, Tolomia and Belo started to take over for the Tamaraws to steal the lead from AU. The lone bright spot in the third quarter for the Chiefs was NCAA’s Most Improved Player Jiovanni Jalalon, who scored 14 of his game-high 24 markers in a single quarter. After FEU pushed its lead to nine in the opening of the third, the Chiefs did not back down as they fired a 12-3 rally to tie the game at 56-all. FEU finished the quarter with the lead, 61-56.

It was a no mercy payoff period for the Tamaraws as they went on a 12-2 run in the fourth quarter to put the game away. Jalalon seemed to be out of gas in the final canto as he only managed to score a pair of points behind the full court defense of FEU. The Chiefs also tried to press FEU but the Tamaraws’ press proved to be more effective.

“I just tell them that if we won’t concentrate, talo tayo,” said FEU Coach Nash Racela, who also stated in the loss to USC that his wards were not ready to play that particular day.

It was the UAAP runners-up who prevailed in the battle of the second placers of their respective leagues. AU is now slated at 1-2 after splitting its Cebu leg assignments. FEU will face La Salle on November 24, 2PM as AU will have a Finals rematch with San Beda the following day, also at 2PM, in the same venue.

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