Entering the season, the University of the East Lady Warriors were seen as the National University Lady Bulldogs’ closest challengers for the championship.
UE had a more experienced team, with three fifth-year student-athletes. Moreover, the Lady Warriors forced overtime in their 66-69 first round defeat at the hands of the Lady Bulldogs.
However, the defending champions showed that they are still light years ahead of the competition, moving one win away from a fourth consecutive UAAP Women’s Basketball Tournament title with an 89-61 rout of UE.
Two of UE’s bright sparks in that sorry loss were Love Sto. Domingo, who scored 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Ruthlaine Tacula, who made nine points, seven rebounds and seven assists — both of whom are playing in their final years.
“Sabog talaga,” lamented Tacula.
“Nangununa talaga yung gigil namin atsaka may advantageous sa kanila kasi sanay na sila maglaro ng finals. Sa amin ngayon pa lang after 49 years.”
“Yung kaba kasi namin, positive way siya dahil excited halos lahat. Aga magising, focused kami. Kulang lang talaga,” echoed Sto. Domingo.
NU dominated the proceedings as UE failed to themselves itself in the contest. The Lady Warriors failed to grab the lead at least once in the game. The Lady Bulldogs went 20 out of 54 from the field compared to the Lady Warriors’ 16 out of 60.
Sto. Domingo shared, “Nandun yung willingness na manalo pero parang wala siya sa sistema. So bounce back kami next game. Na-stop namin yung mga bigs nila pero next game kailangan ma-stop namin yung parehas, ang wing and big.”
All that’s left for the Lady Warriors to do is lick their wounds and prepare for Game 2, which is tentatively scheduled on December 3, 11:00 AM at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Babawi (kami) para sa UE community,” concluded Tacula as she and the rest of the Lady Warriors look to not only end the Lady Bulldogs’ unbeaten streak of 63 games but also give themselves another game in the UAAP.
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