MANILA, Philippines – National University salvaged its historic win by beating the University of Santo Tomas, 78-75, to a 3-0 lead in the UAAP Women’s Basketball Tournament, Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The growling tigers terrified the six-time defending champions as Nikki Villasin’s triple and Eka Soriano’s two free throws overcame a 10-2 record to close the gap to three.72 -75, with 25.3 seconds remaining.
Camille Clarin helps Lady Bulldogs take a breather, sinking two from the front line, 77-72. But Tacky Tacatac refused to give up, hitting 75-77, with 10.7 seconds to play.
UST fouled Angel Surada, who took her first free throw but missed her second, as NU dodged a bullet when Joylyn Pangilinan missed a potential ball that forced the match.
“I think UST has been involved with a lot of fights today. They gave us a hard time. But again credit to my girls for staying in the match and eventually winning the game,” said NU coach Aris Dimaunahan, who won his 99th match in a row. .
Karl Pingol pushed the Lady Bulldogs, scoring 9 out of 14 points in the first half. Clarin brought in 13 points and six assists but made six returns, while Surada had a clutch performance, scoring seven of her 11 markers in the fourth quarter.
NU aims to be the first UAAP team to hit 100 consecutive wins against the University of the Philippines (2-1) on Wednesday, 3 p.m., at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion.
Soriano scored twice with 18 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists, including 3 steals Tacatac and Pangilinan had 18 and 12 points respectively.
UST, which fell 2-1, looks to recover ahead of Ateneo (1-2) on Wednesday at 1pm.
Meanwhile, Lee Sario picked up 11 of his 19 points in the fourth inning as La Salle beat Ateneo, 75-67, to claim the second of three games to draw UST in second place.
The Blue Eagles gave the Lady Archers a 70-67 stunner, but Sario fired a shot for La Salle and also finished with 11 rebounds.
Fina Niantcho also delivered La Salle with 13 points and 10 pounds, while Charmine Torres scored 10 points, six assists, five rebounds and five robberies.
“For us, it is pride. Again, we can lose to any team but we don’t want to lose to Ateneo probably because I come from an era where it was that,” said La Salle coach Cholo Villanueva.
La Salle, the team that holds the record 2-1, takes on the University of the East (0-3) on Wednesday.
Ateneo rookie Kacey Dela Rosa scored 21 points and 14 rebounds, while Jhazmin Joson had 14 points, nine assists, four goals and four steals as the Blue Eagles dropped 1-2, drawing 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.
Area: 22-11, 39-29, 58-49, 78-75.
DLSU 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.
Regions: 19-12, 36-33, 56-53, 75-67.
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