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Tiebreaker Times


Nikki Villasin, UST end NU’s UAAP women’s basketball dynasty

Golden Growling Tigresses.

For the first time in 17 years, University of Santo Tomas is on top of the UAAP Women’s Basketball world.

And for the first time in eight seasons, National University settled for silver.

The Growling Tigresses foiled the Lady Bulldogs’ quest for an eighth straight title – and in breathtaking fashion.

They stormed back from 14 down in the fourth to take the all-or-nothing Game 3, 71-69, and clinch the UAAP Season 86 championship on Wednesday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

Nikki Villasin, a graduating guard out of Chicago, nailed the biggest basket of her career. She made fastbreak layup with 11.8 seconds to go that gave UST the lead for good – and the crown.

Tin Cayabyab, last season’s Finals MVP who had her best game this series with 18 points, tried to win it for the NU with a three-pointer.

However, was well-guarded as her attempt went way short as time expired.

UAAP86-WBB-Finals-G3-Kent-Pastrana-5300 Nikki Villasin, UST end NU's UAAP women's basketball dynasty Basketball News NU UAAP UST  - philippine sports news

“I’m really lost for words. I’m really so happy for the girls, sila may gawa nito,” said Growling Tigresses head coach Haydee Ong. “We were down big, 15 points ,sabi ko sa kanila don’t give up, stick together, unti-untiin natin until fourth quarter, and NU gave us a lot of chances para makahabol kami.

“We made good stops in the last one minute. I think that spells the difference, yung puso ng mga players ko na hindi bumigay kahit down 15 sila,” the former national team head coach continued.

This was UST’s 12th championship in the women’s division, making them the winningest team in league history, breaking its tie with Far Eastern University at 11.

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UAAP86-WBB-Finals-G3-Coach-Aris-Dimaunahan-5002 Nikki Villasin, UST end NU's UAAP women's basketball dynasty Basketball News NU UAAP UST  - philippine sports news

But NU was firmly in control heading into the final 10 minutes of the contest.

The Lady Bulldogs entered the fourth quarter ahead 61-47 but they were limited to eight points the rest of the way.

Ann Pingol’s layup with 4:12 remaining gave NU a 67-58 advantage, then came the UST storm.

Graduating forward Tantoy Ferrer – who missed the 5-on-5 tournament last season due to an ACL tear – started things off.

Ferrer went on a 9-2 run by her lonesome on the back of two triples and three free throws to pull the Growling Tigresses within two with 2:20 left, 69-67.

After missed chances from both sides multiple times, then emerged Mythical Five member Kent Pastrana’s moment. The Season 82 Rookie of the Year attacked Camille Clarin, then made a spin move.

She threw up a short stab to knot the game at 69 with 26.0 seconds left – forcing NU to call timeout.

The Lady Bulldogs went to one-and-done Stef Berberabe, but her short jumper missed. Pastrana grabbed the rebound and passed it forward to Rocel Dionisio, who then passed it to Villasin for the game-winner.

The series was decided by an average of 2.33 points as UST took Game 1, 76-72, while NU won Game 2, 72-70.

Ferrer emerged as the Finals MVP with averages of 15.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.3 steals.

She was part of the 3×3 team that dismantled NU’s reign in the three-a-side game last season.

UAAP86-WBB-Awarding-Finals-MVP-Tantoy-Ferrer-5398 Nikki Villasin, UST end NU's UAAP women's basketball dynasty Basketball News NU UAAP UST  - philippine sports news

“Alam kong matagal mo nang inaantay ito ni coach,” said the Finals MVP, who tallied 19 points and 14 points while being a plus-23 in her 26 minutes and 50 seconds on the floor.

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“Alam kong 2018 pa lang coach, nung pumasok kami nina Tacky (Tacatac), sabi ko, ‘Coach, hindi puwede kaming e-exit kami dito sa UST team na walang championship na ibibigay sa iyo.’ Sa wakas coach nabalik na natin yung korona sa España’,” the forward out of Calapandayan, Zambales furthered.

Pastrana backstopped Ferrer with 16 points, while Villasin delivered 12 points, none bigger than her final two points in the country’s premier collegiate league.

Aside from Cayabyab, the Lady Bulldogs also received contributions from Pringle Fabruada with 13 points and four rebounds. Pingol had 11 points and six rebounds.

Berberabe’s statline in her final collegiate game was nine points and 11 rebounds while Angel Surada got nine points and 12 rebounds.

Clarin, who averaged 18.0 points and 7.0 assists in this series before this game, was held to just two points and two assists on a woeful 0-of-11 shooting from the field.

The Scores:

UST (71) – Ferrer 19, Pastrana 16, Villasin 12, Tacatac 9, Bron 4, Dionisio 4, Santos 4, Ambos 3, Maglupay 0, Soriano 0, Amatong 0, Serrano 0.

NU (69) – Cayabyab 18, Fabruada 13, Pingol 11, Berberabe 9, Surada 9, Canuto 5, Clarin 2, Konateh 2, Bartolo 0, Betanio 0, Solis 0.

Quarterscores: 19-19, 32-44, 47-61, 71-69

Written By

Just a kid from Cavite trying to make a difference.

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