University of the East’s Love Sto. Domingo and University of Santo Tomas’ Sai Larosa are two of the top student-athletes in the UAAP Season 80 Women’s Basketball tournament. Both led their respective teams in the semifinals while being part of the All-UAAP team.
However, the two student-athletes have also figured in heated heads-up encounters in the four games between the Lady Warriors and the Growling Tigresses this season.
And it reached its boiling point on Saturday afternoon.
With four seconds remaining and UE up 68-62, Larosa and Sto. Domingo figured in a physical confrontation,, with the former seen throwing a punch at the Lady Warrior. It almost instigated a bench-clearing brawl that resulted in a disqualifying foul slapped on Larosa and in three UE student-athletes being ejected for entering the court from the bench.
“Hindi kasi na-control ng referee yung buong fourth quarter especially yung extra motions nung mga players. Nakita na nila na nagtau-taunting na yung mga players tapos natamaan na ni Sto. Domingo si Larosa,” UST head coach Haydee Ong recalled after UST lost the game, 62-69.
“Wala, hinayaan nila e. Nagkagulogulo na. Nanalo na eh. You saw the game, it’s frustrating to end the season that way.”
Sto. Domingo, the runner-up for this season’s Most Valuable Player crown, admitted that she had to pull back, not wanting to add insult to injury.
“Sinabi ni coach na huwag kang papatol kasi kapag pinatulan mo siya, magiging ganun din ang attitude mo. Ako lumayo ako sa kanya kaso sumugod siya ng sumugod,” recalled the 19-year-old forward, who finished the game with 18 points and 12 rebounds. “Sabi ko, ‘sige gawin mo yung gusto mong gawin.’ Siguro pikon na siya.
“Ako, sa akin, hindi naman ako katulad nila. Iba kami pinalaki ni coach Ai [Lebornio].”
Still, coach Lebornio holds no grudges against the Growling Tigresses, knowing that this was just the result of the heated rivalry that has been budding between the two squads.
“Mabait yung bata e. Talagang ganun siya,” Lebornio remarked about Larosa. “Siguro na-frustrate na lang siya kaya nagkaganun. Mabait yung bata.
“Big credit sa UST. Yung puso nila napakalaki kaya sobrang saludo ako sa UST. Sabi ko nga sa players ko, hindi nila sinasadya yun.”
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