Ara Abaca poured 10 of her 16 points in the pivotal fourth period to help De La Salle University stave off a gallant Ateneo de Manila University side and hammer out a 63-58 win in the UAAP Season 78 women’s basketball tournament Wednesday at the Blue Eagle Gym.
Abaca took charge in the final quarter, scoring three straight field goals to push the Lady Archers ahead, 56-51.
Baskets by Danica Jose and Jollina Go pulled the Lady Eagles within one, 55-56 but Claro and Abaca combined for the next four points of La Salle to make it 60-55 for the Taft side with only a minute remaining.
Jose scored a quick two coming off a timeout and made a stop on the other end, giving Ateneo some light but Kitkat Nitorreda and Hazelle Yam’s back to back turnovers led to two more free throws by Abaca, 62-57.
Jose split her charities on the other end with only 14 seconds left, and Ateneo sent Snow Penaranda to the line. Penaranda missed both but garnered an offensive rebound as La Salle wasted time away.
Abaca paced the 12-1 Lady Archers with 16 points and 7 rebounds. Alyanna Vergara and Khate Castillo added 14 and 10 points respectively, combining for six triples.
Ateneo made a living using its transition offense, scoring 23 fastbreak points although La Salle used its size in the end, getting 11 more offensive rebounds and 10 more second chance points.
Jose had 23 points and 17 rebounds for the Lady Eagles, which dropped to 5-8 in fifth place. Ateneo is not yet officially out of the Final Four race but will need to win against Adamson on Sunday to at least have shot at a playoff.
La Salle (63) – Abaca 16, Vergara 14, Castillo 10, Dagdagan 9, Claro 6, Roxas 6, Ong 1, Revillosa 1, Penaranda 0, Gonzales 0, Vela 0, Arciga 0.
Ateneo (58) – Jose 23, Yam 8, Buendia 6, Aseron 6, Go 5, Guytingco 4, Tomita 2, Javier 2, Deacon 2, Nitorreda 0, Posadas 0, Lamar 0.
Quarterscores: 14-16, 36-31, 47-44, 63-58.
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