MANILA, Philippines — Defending champion National University became the first team to reach the Final Four in the UAAP Season 85 women’s basketball tournament after staying unbeaten in nine games with a 74-60 victory over Ateneo on Wednesday at UST Quadricentennial Pavillion.
Camille Clarin tallied 16 points, five rebounds, five assists, and four steals to lead the Lady Bulldogs to a league-leading 9-0 record and their 105th straight victory for an assured semifinals ticket.
The NU bench mob also delivered with Gypsy Canuto chipping in 13 points. Ann Pingol had 11 points and seven rebounds. Mikka Cacho contributed 11 points, nine boards, and two steals, while Annick Edimo Tiky posted 10 markers and nine rebounds.
“I have to applaud my bench, especially Annick for stepping up,” said NU coach Aris Dimaunahan.
The unbeaten NU coach lauded Ateneo rookie Kacey Dela Rosa, who led the Blue Eagles with 16 points and 14 rebounds.
“I confess, I’m a fan of Kacey Dela Rosa’s game. She plays at a consistently high level in every game. That is why the game plan for this ballgame is to limit her… she was averaging a double-double prior to this game. I thought we did a great job on her. It was way below her average. I give credit to our team,” said Dimaunahan on Dela Rosa, who is averaging 19.8 points and 15.2 rebounds per game.
Junize Calago also scored 16 points for Ateneo. Dana Nieves had 10 points and eight rebounds, while Jhaz Joson added nine points, nine assists, and three steals only for their four-game win streak to be snapped, and fell to a 5-4 record in the solo fourth place.
Meanwhile, La Salle earned its third straight win and University of Santo Tomas regained its winning ways as both squads shared second place with identical 7-2 cards.
Fina Niantcho Tchuido and Lee Sario led La Salle’s balanced attack anew with 12 points each as they took down Far Eastern University, 56-42, for their third consecutive victory.
Bettina Binaohan also helped the Lady Archers with a double-double of 10 points and 14 boards to send the Lady Tamaraws to a 2-7 record despite the 23-point and eight-rebound effort of Camille Taguiam
“Of course, FEU is a very good team. They are a Final Four contender every year. We were in a dogfight today and good thing we were able to keep up with the physicality. Again, every win for us is a grind out. We don’t dominate and we just outwork our opponents,” said La Salle coach Cholo Villanueva.
UST, on the other hand, vented its ire on the winless University of the East, 76-36, behind the stellar plays of rookies Rocel Dionisio and Rachel Ambos.
Coming off a 67-60 loss to La Salle last weekend, Dionisio brought back the Tigresses’ winning ways. with a double-double of 19 points and 15 rebounds to go with two assists, two steals, and two blocks, while Ambos had eight points, eight steals, and five boards.
Eka Soriano, the MVP frontrunner after the first round, had nine points, six assists, five steals, and three rebounds.
“We really played badly last Saturday and we are still not satisfied with how we are playing, especially our perimeter shooting. We have to improve in our next game and find out why we are in a shooting slump,” said UST coach Haydee Ong.
UE remained winless in nine games despite Kamba Kobe’s 11 points and nine rebounds.
Rose Ann Dampios and Victoria Adeshina ended Adamson’s four-game skid with a nail-biting 62-61 victory over University of the Philippines.
Dampios poured 20 points, seven rebounds, and five steals, while Victoria Adeshina added 12 points, 12 boards, four steals, and three blocks as the Lady Falcons improved to 3-6, tying their victims.
Adamson blew a 13-point lead in the third canto as UP forced a neck-and-neck payoff period with Kaye Pesquera tying the match, 61-all, with 46.3 seconds to play.
The Lady Falcons got lucky as Leslie Flor was fouled and gave back the lead, 62-61, after splitting her free throws. Rhea Sanchez missed a potential game-winning trey for UP with 6.7 ticks remaining.
Sanchez led the Fighting Maroons with 15 points.
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