UST ends title drought, NU dynasty in UAAP women's basketball | Inquirer Sports

UST ends title drought, NU dynasty in UAAP women’s basketball

/ 03:07 PM December 06, 2023

UAAP Finals Game 3 – Live Updates

UST Growling Tigresses UAAP Finals

The UST Growling Tigresses celebrate after claiming the championship in the UAAP Season 86 women’s basketball tournament.–MARLO CUETO/

MANILA, Philippines — Nikki Villasin delivered the championship-clinching layup with 11.8 seconds left as University of Santo Tomas ended a 17-year title drought with a dramatic 71-69 win over National University in the UAAP Season 86 women’s basketball Finals on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Growling Tigresses, who also took down the Lady Bulldogs’ seven-year reign, went down by as many as 15 points late in the third but they never backed down and leaned on the resiliency of graduating player Tantoy Ferrer.

Ferrer, who was named Finals MVP scored nine straight points before Kent Pastrana eluded her defenders to tie the game at 69 with 26 seconds left.


After forcing a miss on Stef Berberabe’s go-ahead attempt for the Lady Bulldogs, Pastrana got the rebound and handed the ball to Rocel Dionisio, who found Villasin on the other side of the court for the winning basket.

Kristine Cayabyab misfired on a potential game-winning triple as NU’s eight-peat dream was shattered by UST.

“I’m really lost for words. I’m happ for the girls. Sila ang gumawa nito. We’re down big but sabi ko lang sakanila, don’t give up. Stick together. Unti-untiin natin,” said UST coach Haydee Ong. “NU gave us a lot of changes para makahabol kami. We made good stops in the last 1 minute. That spelled the difference. ‘Yung puso ng players ko. Hindi sila bumigay. Kahit down sila.”

UST Growling Tigresses UAAP Finals

The UST Growling Tigers after their dramatic win over the NU Lady Bulldogs in Game 3 of the UAAP Season 86 women’s basketball Finals.–MARLO CUETO/

UST won its 12th women’s basketball title overall, breaking a tie with Far Eastern University for the most number of championships. It was the Tigresses’ first crown since 2006.

Ferrer played her heart out to cap off her collegiate career with 19 points and 14 rebounds to spearhead UST’s rally.

Pastrana also powered the Tigresses with 16 points, while Villasin ended her UAAP career as UST’s hero, finishing with 12 points to become the first team to beat NU in a Finals series since 2013 when De La Salle ruled the tournament.


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

The Tigresses emerged as the biggest threats to the Lady Bulldogs’ dynasty after picking the right time to end an 11-year and 20-game losing streak to NU with a 76-72 win in Game 1 before NU saved its title campaign in Game 2 with a nail-biting 72-70 win to force a rubber match.

The Lady Bulldogs started to pull away in the second quarter, breaking a tie at 32-all with a 12-0 run to enter the break with a 44-32 lead. They carried the momentum in the third, tallying their biggest lead of 15 points, 59-44, after Angel Surada’s basket with a minute remaining in the period.

UST outscored NU in the final period, 24-8, and ended the game with a 13-2 run capped by Villasin’s historic layup that ended the school’s 17-year drought in all divisions of 5-on-5 basketball in the league.

Cayabyab led NU with 18 points. Princess Fabruada had 13 points. Karl Pingol chipped in 11 points and six rebounds. Surada and Berberabe contributed nine points each and combined for 23 rebounds, as Camille Clarin, the leading scorer of the Lady Bulldogs in the series, was held to just two points, missing all of her 11 shots from the field.

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.

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

Quarterscores: 19-19, 32-44, 47-61, 71-69

TAGS: Aris Dimaunahan, NU Lady Bulldogs, UAAP Season 86, ust growling tigresses

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