Grace Irebu unloaded 33 points as she kept University of Santo Tomas unbeaten through three outings with a 91-73 blasting of the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles, Wednesday in the UAAP Season 82 Women’s Basketball Tournament at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Last year’s MVP was unmatched down low for the Golden Tigresses. She went 12-of-20 from the field, also grabbing 13 rebounds and two blocks to keep the España side at the top of the standings at 3-0.
“This year is gonna be different. My first objective is I want to bring my team to the Finals,” said the Congolese Irebu, still motivated by last season’s bronze medal finish.
Lon Rivera added 14 points, eight boards, three steals, and two assists. Tantoy Ferrer got herself a double-double with 13 points and 18 rebounds in the win.
UST bucked their sluggish start and slowly pulled away in the third frame. They flipped a close 46-42 lead to a commanding 64-50 advantage.
It was all Golden Tigresses from then on, as Shen Callangan extended the lead to as much as 22, 88-66, with a layup with 1:26 to play. That then sealed off the victory.
“We had a slow start nung first half — playing dismal defense. So I told the girls that we need to go back sa trasition defense because doon kami nalalamangan ng Ateneo,” said coach Haydee Ong.
Alyssa Villamor carried the Lady Eagles with 17 points, six rebounds, and four assists. Hazelle Yam got 15 points and five boards as they bowed to their first loss in three outings.
The win sets UST up to a collision course against defending champions National University Lady Bulldogs on Sunday in a battle of unbeaten teams.
UST 91 –– Irebu 33, Rivera 14, Ferrer 13, Portillo 9, Callangan 6, soriano 5, Tacatac 4, Gandalla 3, Gonzales 2, Panti 2, Sangalang 0.
ADMU 73 –– Villamor 17, Yam 15, Guytingco 12, Moslares 7, Payac 7, Aquisap 3, Cancio 3, Chu 3, Joson 3, Newsome 3, De Dios 0.
Quarterscores: 25-22, 41-39, 67-47, 91-73.