DEFENDING champion National University (NU) bested University of the East (UE), 62-58, to stretch its winning run to 33 games on Wednesday in the University Athletic Association (UAAP) of the Philippines Season 79 women’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Lady Bulldogs drew 18 points and 10 rebounds from Gemma Miranda, while reigning Most Valuable Player Afril Bernardino also had a double-double effort of 14 points and 10 boards.
Last season’s third placers De La Salle University joined NU, Adamson University and Ateneo de Manila University in the win column with a 76-52 drubbing of Far Eastern University.
Chay Vergara shot 19 points while Snow Penaranda and Camille Claro added 15 and 13 points respectively for the Lady Archers.
Ruthlaine Tacula had 18 points, 12 rebounds and four assists but committed nine turnovers for the Lady Warriors.
No Lady Tamaraw scored in twin digits with Valerie Mamaril leading the way with nine markers.
In the other match, the De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Archers trounced the Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws, 76-52.
The Lady Archers and the Lady Tamaraws were engaged in a three-point shootout in the opening minutes of the last quarter. La Salle’s Kathy Gonzales and Chay Vergara scored treys midway through the quarter bringing the score to 63-46, but FEU’s Reyna Capua answered back with a three-pointer to trim the gap, 63-49, with 5:39 minutes remaining.
Gonzales again shot from the arc to extend La Salle’s lead to 17, 66-49, while Kathleen Vidal hit another three-pointer to stop the bleeding for FEU, 66-52.
To start the second half, La Salle launched a 16-4 run behind the efforts of Snow Peñaranda, Camille Claro, Marga Dagdagan, and Khate Castillo to break away from the Lady Tamaraws, 47-32.
The Lady Tamaraws cut the Taft-based squad’s lead to four as Precious Arellado and Daphne Payadon picked free throws from La Salle’s fouls in the last minutes of the second canto, 31-28.
“Just weather the storm, make sure you follow the system, trust in our system and we’ll be fine coming into the second half. So they adjusted what we did in the first half so won the game today,” DLSU head coach Cholo Villanueva said on La Salle’s meltdown in the first half.
Vergara led the Lady Archers with 19 points, while Peñaranda showcased a double-double performance of 15 markers and 13 rebounds.
“We want to improve from last year’s standing. We want to reach the finals this time not just reaching the Final Four. I think last year, we lacked experience, so hopefully, this year, with a much more improvement on gaining experience from the preseason tournament, we can improve from last year,” Villanueva added.
Valerie Mamaril led FEU with nine points, while Arellado and Loraine Ventura added eight markers apiece.
“They were very relaxed. I told them to have a good start in the third quarter but they relaxed which became our problem. We also lacked in defense, communication, and ball movement,” FEU head coach Bert Flores.