National University sealed its 108th straight win and a twice-to-beat advantage in the UAAP Season 85 Women’s Basketball Tournament, taking an 87-64 victory at the expense of University of Santo Tomas, Saturday at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion.
This was the Lady Bulldogs’ 12th consecutive win this season in as many games and is just two victories away from securing an eighth straight Finals appearance.
With the score at 62-58 off a Tacky Tacatac lay-up with 8:20 to go, the Lady Bulldogs unleashed a 17-3 run capped off by Camille Clarin’s to lead 79-61 with 3:46 to go in the contest.
NU then enjoyed a lead as big as 87-64 thanks to Mikka Cacho’s four unanswered points with 1:26 left in the game. Cacho led the defending champions with 25 points, 13 rebounds, and two steals.
“When (Cacho) came in, she gave the spark for our team to really bounce back in the game,” said Lady Bulldogs coach Aris Dimaunahan. “She was huge dun pa lang sa unang pasok niya. She had the energy. She had the will, Mikka Cacho, being the captain of this team. She led us towards that comeback.”
Cacho was followed by Angel Surada’s 14 points, 12 rebounds, three steals, and two assists.
Clarin contributed 12 points, six rebounds, and four assists while Ann Pingol and Tin Cayabyab produced 10 points each along with seven and five rebounds respectively.
NU dominated the paint with 46 points to UST’s 28. The Lady Bulldogs also seized 59 rebounds compared to the Growling Tigresses’ 44.
The Lady Bulldogs’ defense proved key as they forced 20 turnovers from the Growling Tigresses, which led to 16 points. NU also had 24 fastbreak points to UST’s four.
“I thought we started this game very, very flat. Give credit also to UST for starting super strongly in this game,” said Dimaunahan. “But I have to give credit to our ladies for not folding up and stepping up to the challenge.”
On the other hand, UST saw its three-game winning streak snapped and it slid down to 9-3 in third place.
The Growling Tigresses were led by Tacatac’s 29 points, which came from 12-of-24 shooting from the field.
Eka Soriano produced 11 points, nine assists, eight rebounds, and three steals as well for UST.
Both teams will return to action on Wednesday at the same venue.
UST goes up against University of the Philippines at 9:00 AM while NU takes on De La Salle University at 11:00 AM.
NU (87) – Cacho 25, Surada 14, Clarin 12, Pingol 10, Cayabyab 10, Canuto 8, Betanio 3, Fabruada 3, Tiky 2, Bartolo 0, Villareal 0, Solis 0, Ico 0, Dimaunahan 0, Barroquillo.
UST (64) – Tacatac 29, Soriano 11, Pangilinan 9, Villasin 5, Santos 4, Serrano 4, Dionisio 2, Bron 0, Ambos 0, Villapando 0, Araza 0.
Quarterscores: 30-18, 44-34, 60-53, 87-64.