ARANETA COLISEUM, QUEZON CITY – The Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles are contenders for a final four berth once more after prevailing against the Adamson University Lady Falcons, 51-48, Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
A low-scoring first quarter saw both teams manage to put up no more than ten points each, with Adamson bagging eight and Ateneo bagging seven. However, the Lady Eagles would control the pace of the game, slowing down the Lady Falcons’ vaunted run-and-gun and dominating the inside with the presence of Danica Jose. However, with Jose being the Lady Eagles’ consistent scorer in the first half, the Lady Falcons would enter halftime with the lead, 21-16.
The third quarter would however mark a shift in the pace of the game, with Ateneo’s offense finally igniting. With Adamson still unable to find the easiest shots, Ateneo would soon overtake Adamson with less than two minutes on the clock, 32-31, after baskets from Hazelle Yam and Danica Jose. A split free throw opportunity from Janille de Castro would force the deadlock in the dying seconds at 32-32, but a buzzerbeating three-pointer from Sara Bo-ot would give the Katipunan-based squad the lead, 35-32, to close out the quarter.
Akiko Tomita would also come alive in fourth quarter, taking some of the scoring load to make sure the lead stayed with Ateneo. A basket from Adamson’s De Castro would push the Lady Falcons within striking distance once more at 44-45 with three and a half minutes left on the clock, but Danica Jose would quickly fire back with another layup. With two minutes left the clock, Jingky Balasta would steal the ball from Ateneo point guard Sara Bo-ot right after the inbound and in moments sink a three-pointer to bring Adamson to 47-49. A split free throw opportunity from Jesusa Avila would bring the Lady Falcons to 48-49 with less than a minute remaining, but would continue to miss in every one of their next possessions. With less than fifteen on the clock, Adamson would resort to fouling, and Akiko Tomita would sink two free throws to put Ateneo back up by three 51-48 with less than ten seconds remaining. Adamson’s Balasta had the chance to force overtime, but would miss the potential buzzer-beating three.
Danica Jose led the Lady Eagles with 23 points, 17 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Jingky Balasta led the Falcons in scoring with 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. The Lady Eagles climb to 7-6, a slate they share with the FEU lady Tamaraws and the UST Tigresses. The Lady Eagles are also above .500 for the first time in the second round. The Falcons meanwhile fall to 6-7.