MANILA, Philippines – National University’s phenomenal winning record got threatened for the first time this season, but the Lady Bulldogs stayed composed when it mattered.
The NU Lady Bulldogs overcame a tough challenge from the UST Tigresses, pulling off a 78-75 escape to clinch their 99th straight win in the UAAP women’s basketball tournament on Sunday, October 9, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Tigresses moved within four after Nikki Villasin’s triple off a timeout with 36.1 seconds left to cap an 8-1 run, 70-74.
But Aloha Betanio was fouled the next play, splitting her freebies to pad the Lady Bulldogs’ lead, before UST’s Eka Soriano sliced it to three with her two charity stripe conversions with 25.3 ticks to go, 72-75.
Camille Clarin then made two free throws for NU, but UST’s Tacky Tacatac responded with a booming trey with 10.7 seconds to trim the deficit yet again, 75-77.
NU’s Angel Surada was then sent to the line, making the first before missing the second free throw, which gave the Tigresses another chance to tie or even forge a massive upset.
However, UST’s Joylyn Pangilinan missed her off-balanced heave in the closing seconds.
“I thought UST came in with a lot of fight today. They gave us a hard time,” said NU coach Aris Dimaunahan. “But again, credit to my girls for staying in the game and eventually winning the game.”
Ann Pingol led NU with 14 points, 9 from the first half, while Clarin chipped in 13 points and 6 assists but had 6 turnovers.
Surada was at the front of the Lady Bulldogs’ attack in the payoff period where she fired 7 of her 11 points.
Soriano flirted with a triple-double for the Tigresses with 18 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists with 3 steals and just a single turnover.
Tacatac also produced 18 points, while Pangilinan had 12.
NU will aim for win No. 100 on Wednesday, 3 pm, against University of the Philippines at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion.
La Salle clips rival Ateneo
La Salle took down archrival Ateneo, 75-67, in another thriller in the second game.
Lee Sario had 19 points for the Lady Archers, 11 in the payoff period, to go with 11 rebounds, while Fina Niantcho added 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Sario put the finishing touches in the Lady Archers’ victory after Jhazmin Joson pulled the Blue Eagles within three, 70-67, off a steal and a bucket with 1:50 to go.
“For us, it’s about pride. Again, we can lose to any team but we don’t want to lose to Ateneo maybe because I was from an era when that was the thing,” said La Salle coach Cholo Villanueva.
Charmine Torres also did it all with 10 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 5 steals for La Salle.
The Lady Archers joined University of the Philippines and University of Santo Tomas at the second spot with a 2-1 record.
Rookie sensation Kacey Dela Rosa continued to be Ateneo’s rock with 21 points and 14 rebounds, while Joson chipped in 14 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds, and 4 steals.
The Blue Eagles slid to 1-2 along with Far Eastern University and Adamson.
NU 78 – Pingol 14, Clarin 13, Surada 11, Canuto 9, Cacho 8, Betanio 8, Cayabyab 5, Tiky 4, Fabruada 2, Bartolo 2, Villareal 2, Solis 0, Talas 0.
UST 75 – Soriano 18, Tacatac 18, Pangilinan 12, Villasin 7, Dionisio 6, Ambos 6, Bron 5, Santos 2, Villapando 1, Araza 0, Serrano 0.
Quarters: 22-11, 39-29, 58-49, 78-75.
La Salle 75 – Sario 19, Niantcho 13, Torres 12, Binaohan 10, Dela Paz 6, Arciga 5, Ahmed 4, Dalisay 3, Espinas 2, Jimenez 1, Camba 0.
Ateneo 67 – Dela Rosa 21, Joson 14, Miranda 9, Eufemiano 8, Calago 7, Nieves 6, Makanjuola 2, Jajurie 0, Villacruz 0, Gino-Gino 0.
Quarters: 19-12, 36-33, 56-53, 75-67.