The National University Lady Bulldogs survived four grueling quarters to edge the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigresses, 62-60, and escape with a 2-0 standing and deny the Tigresses their first win in the Women’s Basketball Tournament of the 77th Season of the UAAP.
Leading by two with ten seconds remaining in the ballgame after a floater from Afril Bernardino, NU’s Shelley Gupilan would steal the ball from a UST inbound pass and seemingly secure the victory for last year’s runners-up. However, Gupilan would lose possession of the ball to UST during a sideline pile-up. With barely five seconds left on the clock, UST center Maica Cortes would find herself with possession of the ball, an open lane, and the opportunity to bring the the game into overtime. However, UST defenders would catch up with her in time to contest what could have been UST’s game-tying buzzer-beater. Cortes’ shot would end up bouncing off the rim just as time expired after what appeared to be a collision of bodies under the basket. After reviewing Cortes’ foiled buzzer-beater, officials ruled the botched buzzer-beater as a result of a UST error.
After heading into the second half with a narrow 27-26 lead, the Bulldogs would be held to a meager 9 points in the third quarter, with Maica Cortes leading the Tigresses to overtake the Bulldogs and enter the final period of regulation with a 45-38 lead. Kristine Abriam would answer back for the Bulldogs, in the fourth quarter and force a tie around the halfway point of the quarter. The two squads continued to trade leads for the remainder of regulation, until errors on both sides of the court led to the outcome of the game undecided until the dying seconds of regulation.
Trixie Antiquiera led NU with 17 points, while Abriam had 14. Lore Rivera meanwhile had 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Tigresses, who drop to 0-2 in the standings.
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