NU rebounds, La Salle claims last twice-to-beat in UAAP women’s basketball
MANILA, Philippines — National University bounced back from its first loss in nine years to seal the No. 1 seed, while La Salle gained the last twice-to-beat incentive on Saturday ahead of the UAAP Season 85 women’s basketball Final Four at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Licking the wounds after NU’s streak of 108 straight wins was snapped, Karl Pingol and Tin Cayabyab propelled their team to a 101-55 whipping of also-ran Adamson to finish on top of the standings with a 13-1 record.
Pingol powered the Lady Bulldogs with 12 points, eight rebounds, and two assists. Cayabyab chipped in 11 points and four boards. Princess Fabruada and Camille Clarin had 10 points, while Annick Edimo Tiky added nine points, six rebounds, and four steals.
“We talked about finishing quarters, finishing halves, finishing games strongly, which obviously we failed in our last game,” said NU coach Aris Dimaunahan after his squad led by as many as 48 in the third quarter, 79-31.
“Today the challenge was really how well we could finish the elimination round on a high note, if we could finish this convincingly. I thought we did a better job today than the last time we played.”
In the first traditional Final Four in women’s basketball in nine years, the twice-to-beat NU battles the No. 4 Ateneo, which lost to University of the Philippines, 84-57, and finished 7-7 in the eliminations earlier.
“We will prepare against Ateneo. We will review some games they had and our games with them,” said Dimaunahan as they open their Final Four campaign next week.
“It will be an interesting match-up with their two big guys, with their import, and Kacey Dela Rosa plus their guards (Jhazmin) Joson and (Junize) Calago. Not to leave on the table is (LJ) Miranda).”
Adamson finished the season in sixth place with a 5-9 slate. Novie Ornopia led the Lady Falcons with 14 points, while Victoria Adeshina added eight points and seven rebounds.
Meanwhile, La Salle, which finished 12-2 with eight consecutive victories including a big win over NU, takes on No. 3 University of Santo Tomas (11-3) in the Final Four as both teams ended their respective elimination stints on a high.
Missing coach Cholo Villanueva due to his duty in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, Lee Sario posted 18 points while Bettina Binaohan notched a double-double of 14 points and 17 rebounds in La Salle’s dominant 66-41 win over winless University of the East.
Ameng Torres also provided key contributions for the Lady Archers with eight points and seven rebounds, while Fina Niantcho Tchuido, whose suspension was rescinded just hours before the game had four points and 13 boards to send the Lady Red Warriors to a 0-14 campaign.
“Of course, UST is a tough team,” said La Salle assistant coach JR Aquino. “We lost to them in the first round. We beat them in the second round so we have to make adjustments because we don’t want them to force a second game… Starting from game one, we want to get this game.”
UST trounced Far Eastern University, 77-65, with Rocel Dionisio leading the Tigresses with 15 points and 13 rebounds and Eka Soriano scattering 14 points, seven boards, four assists, and one block.
Tacky Tacatac contributed 10 points, seven rebounds, six assists, four steals, and one block, while Agatha Bron also scored 10 points.
“No rest for us. Tomorrow we’ll still have our practice and viewing for the La Salle game,” said UST coach Haydee Ong. “We need to play La Salle twice to be in the finals. We have to be ready for them.”
FEU ended the season with six straight defeats for a 3-11 record in seventh place despite the efforts of Camille Taguiam, who had 27 points, five assists, five steals, and four rebounds.