Tams run Tigers to ground in Game 1 victory

Mike Tolomia stars in the FEU Tamaraws' conquest of the UST Growling Tigers in Game One of the UAAP Season 78 men's basketball finals. EC Toledo IV

MANILA, Philippines -- The Far Eastern University Tamaraws finished just like how they started. 

FEU leaned on a strong start and a stronger finish to finally unlock the UST mystery drawing the first blood, 75-64, Wednesday in Game One of the UAAP Season 78 men's basketball finals before a sea of yellow and gold at the Mall of Asia Arena. 

The Tamaraws almost threw away an early 14-point lead but gathered a second wind in the final six minutes to run away with the victory and beat the Tigers for the first time this season. 

FEU held UST scoreless for almost six minutes down the stretch that killed any hopes of a roaring comeback from the Tigers. 

UST almost did it until Mike Tolomia sparked a 13-2 windup for FEU, which moved within a win from bagging their 20th UAAP title and the one that slipped away last season.

Behind Roger Pogoy's 15 points and a strong game from Nigerian Prince Orizu, the Tamaraws stormed to a 47-34 lead at the turn.  But the Tigers refused to just roll over and die.  Flashing their signature second half comeback, the Tigers clawed their way back and even grabbed a 62-61 lead on a Louie Vigil sneaky layup.  

Mario Bonleon came off the bench to provide a badly needed scoring sock while Karim Abdul made a living at the stripes courtesy of the Tamaraws' early penalty situation as Tigers slowly chipped away the 14-point deficit and stayed within a striking distance, 57-51, entering the payoff period.  

A quick 6-0 run by the Tigers tied the game but Francis Tamsi drilled in a stop-gap jumper and restored order for the Tamaraws. 

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