University of Santo Tomas booked at least a playoff for a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four of the UAAP Season 86 Women’s Basketball Tournament after easily dispatching Ateneo de Manila University 80-68 Saturday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
(Mall of Asia Arena)
9 a.m. – AdU vs FEU (Women)
11 a.m. – DLSU vs UE (Women)
2 p.m. – AdU vs UE (Men)
4 p.m. – UP vs NU (Men
UST, which ended the elimination round riding a four-game winning streak, finished the elimination round with an 11-3 record — half a game ahead of University of the Philippines, which is at 10-3 and is playing National University as of publishing.
If NU prevails against UP, UST will secure second place and a playoff advantage against UP.
From a slender 39-33 edge at halftime, the Growling Tigresses pounded Ateneo in the third quarter to turn the game into a one-sided affair.
Apple Maglupay, Eka Soriano, Tantoy Ferrer, Nikki Villasin, and Brigitte Santos connived, giving Tigresses a 19-point cushion over the Eagles to give the latter a mountain to climb coming into the payoff period.
VIllasin and Soriano opened the final stanza with back-to-back tirples to hand the Growling Tigresses their biggest lead of the ballgame at 68-45 with 8:46 remaining in the contest.
The Blue Eagles managed to trim the deficit to as low as 77-65 off baskets from Ylyssa Eufemiano, Junize Calago, and Sandra Villacruz with 1:55 to go but it was a case of too little too late.
Now that the elimination round is over, UST is now focusing on its matchup against UP next week.
“We’ll prepare for UP,” said Tigresses coach Haydee Ong. “We’ll go back to the drawing board and prepare for UP.”
Villasin led the Growling Tigresses with a career-high 20 points built on four three-pointers to go with two rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
“It was a good experience,” said Villasin, a graduating masters student guard out of North Park. “It’s mostly just practice translating (on the court). Honestly, we just work hard and do the same things we do every day in practice. We just stick to our system and what our coach wants and we just get the shots that we want.
“We’re patient and every shot comes from a teammate. My teammates were just looking for me, especially Eka (Soriano) who is facilitating really well,” she added.
Reigning MVP Soriano added a double-double of 14 points and 11 assists while also securing four rebounds and three steals, while Kent Pastrana chipped in 12 points, seven rebounds, and six steals.
Brigette Santos had 10 points as well in the win while Apple Maglupay grabbed 12 rebounds while also scoring eight points.
Tacky Tacatac missed the game due to flu.
On the other hand, the Blue Eagles fell to 8-6 in fourth place with back-to-back defeats.
They will try to topple the seven-time defending champions NU Lady Bulldogs, who hold a twice-to-beat advantage, in the Final Four.
Season 85 Rookie of the Year Kacey Dela Rosa delivered 21 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks for Ateneo.
Ylyssa Eufemiano got 10 points, while the backcourt duo of Junize Calago and Jhazmin Joson were limited to just nine and seven points on 3-of-14 and 2-of-10 shooting from the field, respectively.
UST 80 – Villasin 20, Soriano 14, Pastrana 12, Santos 10, Ferrer 9, Maglupay 8, Bron 3, Ly 2, Serrano 2, Ambos 0, Dionisio 0, Danganan 0.
Ateneo 68 – Dela Rosa 21, Eufemanio 10, Calago 9, Joson 7, Angala 7, Villacruz 5, Makanjoula 5, Solis 3, Cancio 1, Gastador 0, Nieves 0.
Quarterscores: 15-17, 39-33, 62-43, 80-68.