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Basketball

Haydee Ong finally breaks NU jinx


Wins have been hard to come by for Haydee Ong when she takes on National University.

This included the latter part of her seven-year run with Ateneo de Manila University, and the first seven years of her 76-72stint with her alma mater University of Santo Tomas.

But finally, the breakthrough happened on Wednesday afternoon.

And it could not have come at a better time for the Growling Tigresses.

In Game One of the UAAP Season 86 Women’s Basketball Finals, the Tigresses shocked the seven-time defending champions, escaping with a 76-72 win.

They not only move on the cusp of not just ending a dynasty, but also bringing the tiara back to Espana after 17 long years.

“So happy of course that finally meron kaming panalo against NU, which is the most important because this is the championship series,” said Ong after the Growling Tigresses snapped a 20-game losing streak to the Lady Bulldogs.

“Thank you sa mga girls. They really worked hard for this, the whole team until the last second na pwede humabol ang NU. They kept their composure. Hindi na nangyari yung last time. I’m just so happy.”

Kent Pastrana and Tacky Tacatac led UST with 15 and 14 points respectively. Meanwhile, Tantoy Ferrer produced 13 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, and two steals.

Brigette Santos and Nikka Villasin scored 12 and 10 points respectively.

Despite those impressive scoring outputs, Ong felt that it was the Growling Tigresses’ defense that won them the game. They scored 27 points off the Lady Bulldogs’ 23 turnovers.

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Santos in particular had seven steals, while the whole of NU only got eight.

UAAP86-WBB-NU-vs-UST-UST-6833 Haydee Ong finally breaks NU jinx Basketball News UAAP UST  - philippine sports news

“I told the girls that during the season, we need some offensive power pero pagdating ngayon, defense says a lot and will give you the championship. I think nagawa namin yun. We clamped on their shooters. Walang masyadong transition offense,” the former national team head coach recalled.

“I think come Game Two, defense will speak a lot for us again.”

Ong wants the Growling Tigresses to finish the job after they pulled off what was once unimaginable.

There is only one game that separated UST from immortality and if it pulls it off, then it will be one of the most memorable championships in UAAP history as it was achieved at the expense of the eight-peat-seeking NU.

“Of course, NU will have some adjustments come Game Two,” said the former national team mentor.

“For us to really close the series, the girls should want it more than NU para ibalik ang korona sa España.”

Written By

Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces


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