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Tigresses outlast Lady Tams to stay in race for Final Four

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ARANETA COLISEUM, QUEZON CITY – After blowing a double-digit lead in the first half and barely escaping a harrowing second half trade of runs, the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigresses cruised to their seventh win after outlasting the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws, 73-68, Wednesday morning at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Tigresses dominated the Lady Tamaraws in the first quarter, holding the taller and burlier FEU squad to a dismal six points while managing to sink 21 points. The Lady Tams’ offense would finally pull together in the second quarter, with center Claire Castro finally showing signs of her usual self by dominating the paint. However, the Tigresses’ offense would remain seamless, and the Espana-based squad would close out the first half with the 42-27 run, beating back a late 9-3 run by the Lady Tamaraws.

The Lady Tamaraws however would sustain momentum entering the third quarter. A three-pointer by Ana Valenzona would ignite a 13-0 run in the next three minutes, and would soon find themselves trailing by only two points, 40-42. A layup by UST’ Maica Cortes would however put a stop to the run with six minutes on the clock. Momentum would however turn in favor of the Tigresses once more. UST would hold FEU to only four points in the later half of the quarter, while managing to score sixteen more points to close out the quarter with a double-digit lead in hand once more, 60-44.

The fourth quarter would however open to another FEU rally. Led by Angel Arellano and Ana Valenzona, the Lady Tams would cut the lead to double digits once more, 62-55 with six and a half minutes on the clock. UST would find the means to respond, and with two minutes remaining on the clock, the Tigresses would retain the lead 66-60. A basket from April Siat would bring FEU closer, 67-62 in approaching the final minute, but an unsportsmanlike foul from FEU’s Lorraine Ventura would give Kim Reyes the means to pull away once more, sinking two freethrows to widen the gap, 69-62.

The plucky Lady Tamaraws would continue to search for the stop in the final minute, finding ways to slow down the game and score whenever possible. However, with UST finding their touch at the freethrow line, the Tigresses would eventually walk away with the win.

Lore Rivera led UST with 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Maica Cortes and Betinna Penaflor chipped in nine points apiece. April Siat led the scoring for FEU with 17 points and 8 rebounds, while Claire Castro had 16 points along with 18 boards and 3 blocks. UST and FEU are now currently tied at 7-6. The winner of the second game between the Adamson University Lady Falcons and Ateneo de Manila Lady Eagles will join at the 7-6 slate, forging a three-way tie for the third, fourth, and fifth slots. FEU, UST, Adamson, and Ateneo are all still in contention for the last two final four slots, with NU and La Salle the only teams assured of final four berths at this point.

1 2 3 4 FT UST 21 21 18 13 73 FEU 6 21 17 24 68

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