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Ann Pingol shines as defensive ace, restraining ‘MVP’ Kacey Dela Rosa in semis


Before National University headed to the court in the Final Four match against Ateneo de Manila University, the Lady Bulldogs knew that they needed to stop Kacey Dela Rosa to enter the finals of the UAAP Season 86 Women’s Basketball Tournament.

Dela Rosa, who averaged 19.57 points, 12.0 rebounds, 2.64 blocks, 1.5 steals, and 1.21 assists, was limited to just 10 points on 5-of-12 shooting and 11 rebounds. Her struggles were laid bare as she scored eight points in the first half and only two in the second half.

The sophomore big’s difficulties after the halftime break made it easier for the Lady Bulldogs to seal their ninth straight finals appearance with a 58-43 drubbing at the expense of the Blue Eagles.

“I guess it all boils down to us adjusting after the break. The players deserve all the credit for following instructions and battling out there dahil napakahirap pigilan si Kacey and the foreign student-athlete (Sarah Makanjuola),” said Lady Bulldogs coach Aris Dimaunahan.

“Credit goes to all of our players for staying together and still kahit napapagalitan sila at binibigyan ng wake-up call, they woke up at the right time in the third quarter and dun kami nakakuha ng mini-run to have a kind of a padding, cushion to have a lead.”

One NU player who had a direct hand in Dela Rosa’s struggles was power forward Karl Pingol. Pingol did her job diligently and was a persistent thorn in Dela Rosa’s side.

Pingol may have just scored 10 points in the game, but her impact can be quantified on Dela Rosa’s limited influence.UAAP86-WBB-NU-vs-ATENEO-KARL-PINGOL-5959 Ann Pingol shines as defensive ace, restraining 'MVP' Kacey Dela Rosa in semis Basketball News NU UAAP  - philippine sports news

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“Ako yung bumabantay kay Kacey. Sinunod ko lang yung game plan ni coach kung pano depensahan si Kacey tsaka kung ano yung tendencies niya. Yun lang, sinunod ko lang yung sinabi ni coach para maka-stop sa kanya,” said senior forward Pingol, who is five inches shorter than 6-foot Dela Rosa.

While NU may be forgiven for being carried away and ecstatic at reaching the finals for the ninth straight season, Dimaunahan, Pingol, and Stef Berbarabe had a business-as-usual demeanor during the post-game press conference.

The former Blackwater head coach made it a point to praise Ateneo and Dela Rosa first before talking about his team’s latest milestone.

“First of all, we have to congratulate the Ateneo women’s basketball program for bringing their team to the Final Four for two consecutive years. It’s a testament to how well they are being coached,” said Dimaunahan.

“It’s a testament to how well they are being coached, how they are being handled by Coach (LA) Mumar, Coach Bacon (Austria), and the rest of the coaching staff. They did a great job the past two years not only getting to the Final Four but again for molding Kacey Dela Rosa to be our (Season 85) Rookie of the Year and probably right now, I don’t know if I’m correct, pero I feel Kacey will be our MVP this year,” he continued.

“Credit to the whole program for developing her growth into what she is today. That would be a big, big boost for women’s basketball not only in the UAAP but also in the Gilas program.”

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