UAAP: NU Lady Bulldogs clinch top seed, win 10th straight
MANILA, Philippines —Seven-time defending champion National University dominated the also-ran Adamson, 76-61, to secure a twice-to-beat advantage and the No. 1 spot in the UAAP Season 86 women’s basketball Final Four on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Lady Bulldogs have now won 10 straight games with an average winning margin of 17.6 points to seal the top seeding with a 12-1 record. They will battle the No. 4 Ateneo Blue Eagles in the Final Four starting next week.
Camille Clarin, who struggled in her past games, led the way with 15 points. Rhocel Bartolo had 10 points, while Stef Berbarabe added four points, six assists, and four steals.
“We’re happy to be able to do that but we’re not satisfied with what we’ve done,” said NU coach Aris Dimaunahan. “We’re just happy to get a win today in preparation for the next coming games. We really need wins going into the playoffs,” the former interim Blackwater head coach continued.
Adamson dropped to a 3-10 card amid the efforts of Cheska Apag and Victoria Adeshina, who had 15 points each.
Meanwhile, the University of the Philippines and University of Santo Tomas continued to fight for the last twice-to-beat advantage with identical 10-3 cards.
Achrissa Maw led the balanced attack of UP with 13 points, six rebounds, and three steals to beat the unbeaten University of the East, 70-55.
Louna Ozar also powered the Fighting Maroons with 11 points and seven assists, while Favour Onoh had nine points, 17 rebounds, three steals, two assists, and one block bouncing back from a tough loss to La Salle last week.
“We were not desperate against La Salle and that’s our fault,” said UP coach Paul Ramos. “We could have played better and then La Salle played very well and so we learned our lesson. For today’s game, our approach was much more different than last game.”
UE remained winless in 13 games, absorbing its 36th straight loss.
Brigette Santos led UST with 20 points, seven assists, six steals, and four rebounds to take down the also-ran Far Eastern University, 106-85.
Tantoy Ferrer and Nikka Villasin contributed 15 points each for the Growling Tigresses. Agatha Bron and Kent Pastrana had 13 and 11 points, respectively. Tacky Tacatac added 10 points.
“We need to win one more game versus Ateneo,” said UST coach Haydee Ong. “It’s very crucial for all the teams in the Final Four who are vying for a twice-to-beat advantage because UP, Ateneo, and UST have a very big chance of having the twice-to-beat advantage so we wanted to prepare for Ateneo for Saturday and hopefully we’ll get the twice-to-beat advantage.”
UST overcame FEU’s Congolese big Kaputu, who had a season-high 37 points to go along with her 15 rebounds. The Lady Tamaraws (3-10) suffered their fifth straight loss.
UP battles NU on Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum, while UST takes on No. 4 Ateneo, which was upset by also-ran La Salle, 67-61, earlier.
Lee Sario and Bernie Paraiso led La Salle with 15 points apiece, while Betts Binaohan and Luisa San Juan chipped in 11 points each to improve to a 6-7 record and locked Ateneo to the fourth spot with an 8-5 card.
Kate Dela Rosa led the Blue Eagles with 22 points and 11 rebounds, while Junize Calago contributed 21 points, nine rebounds, and three assists.