UAAP Basketball

UST ends NU dynasty, bags first UAAP women’s hoops crown in 17 years

Philip Matel

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UST ends NU dynasty, bags first UAAP women’s hoops crown in 17 years

CLUTCH. UST stalwart Nikki Villasin drives past the NU defense.


In a Game 3 thriller to remember, the UST Growling Tigresses rally from a double-digit deficit in the final quarter to end the NU Lady Bulldogs’ seven-season reign in UAAP women’s basketball

MANILA, Philippines — The UST Growling Tigresses halted the dynastic run of the NU Lady Bulldogs after a classic 71-69 comeback thriller in Game 3 of the UAAP Season 86 women’s basketball finals on Wednesday, December 6, at the Araneta Coliseum.

Nikki Villasin buried the game-winner with just 6.5 ticks left, a few seconds after Kent Pastrana tied the game at 69 as the Tigresses captured their first championship in 17 years.

The stunner ended the dynasty of the NU Lady Bulldogs, who had hoped to capture their eighth straight crown. 

UST last reigned in basketball in 2006, when both men’s and women’s championships were brought to España.

“This will go down in history for UST. The last time we had our championship was in 2006. I think that says a lot to the level of NU. They raised the bar for women’s basketball. Seven times,” said UST head coach Haydee Ong.

“It’s one hell of a program. And beating them today and never giving up. That says a lot for these special ladies that they deserve to be UAAP champions,” she added.

Finals MVP Tantoy Ferrer led the Tigresses with 19 points, while Pastrana (16 points) and Villasin (12 points) rounded out the double-digit scorers.

NU attempted to pull away when it closed the first half on a 12-0 run to take a 44-32 lead at the half, before leading by as many as 15 in the third quarter, 59-44, late in the period.

The Tigresses clawed back from a 14-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter, before slowly chipping away the Lady Bulldogs’ disadvantage.

Still down 58-67 with 4:10 minutes left, the Tigresses closed it out with a 13-2 run, with Ferrer unleashing 9 straight points to come within 2, 67-69, capped off by a Ferrer triple with 2:19 to go.

After several missed opportunities by UST to tie or take the lead, a window of opportunity opened after Camille Clarin lost the ball with 34.6 ticks left.

Pastrana, who led the Tigresses’ scoring in the first two games, shook Clarin several times and spun before nailing the game-tying shot in the last 26 seconds.

The one-and-done Stef Berberabe had a chance to regain the advantage for the Lady Bulldogs, but her shot backrimmed, which led to the streaking Villasin, who nailed the marginal fastbreak hoop.

In the final possession, Cayabyab was stuffed by two different UST players for the potential game-winner as the final buzzer sounded.

Tin Cayabyab led the Lady Bulldogs in scoring with 18 points, while Princess Fabruada added 13.

Berberabe, on the other hand, had 9 points and 11 rebounds in her final UAAP game.

NU skipper Clarin had a forgettable performance with 2 points, and 0-for-11 shooting from the field.

“I’m really lost for words. I’m happy for the girls, they made the comeback, we were down big but I told them, don’t give up. Stick together,” recalled Ong.

“NU gave us a lot of chances for us to come back. We made good stops in the last 1 minute. That spelled the difference,” she continued.

“My players’ heart did not waver, even though they’re down.”

The scores

UST 71 – Ferrer 19, Pastrana 16, Villasin 12, Tacatac 9, Bron 4, Dionisio 4, Santos 4, Ambos 3, Maglupay 0, Soriano 0, Amatong 0, Serrano 0. 

NU 69 – Cayabyab 18, Fabruada 13, Pingol 11, Berberabe 9, Surada 9, Canuto 5, Clarin 2, Konateh 2, Bartolo 0, Betanio 0, Solis 0.

Quarters: 19-19, 32-44, 47-61, 71-69.


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