Playing its third game in seven days, the University of the East Lady Warriors bucked a slow start, locking down the struglling University of the Philippines Lady Fighting Maroons, 52-42, Sunday afternoon at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
“Three games kaming naglalaro, sunod-sunod,” said UE head coach Aileen Lebornio as the Lady Warriors went 2-1 during that stretch. “At least makakapag-recover na kami before facing Ateneo. Kailangan talaga namin paghandaan ang lahat ng dadating sa amin.”
Love Sto. Domingo paced UE with a huge double-double performance wiwth 15 points and 17 rebounds. But it was Bienca Ramos and Joyce Francisco who stepped up in the third frame that blew the game wide open.
“Yung inadjust ko nung halftime yung depensa namin,” reflected Lebornio. “Sabi ko sa mga bata na hindi puwedeng ganun yung depensa namin, madaming nakalusot sa amin nung first half.”
With UE holding a three point-lead entering the third frame, the Lady Warriors went to its bread and butter, limiting the Lady Maroons to just five points. On the offensive end, Ramos and Francisco carried the load, combining for 15 of UE’s 19 third quarter points to help give UE a game-high 18-point lead, 48-30, with a minute remaining in the frame.
“Nung third quarter, buti nag-react sila sa sinabi ko. Nakuha na namin yung gusto namin,” furthered Lebornio, who steered UE to a third place finish last season.
Ramis finished with a double-double as well with 12 points and 11 rebounds while Francisco finished with 12 points and seven rebounds.
UE was able to limit UP to just a 21 percent shooting. Moreover, the Lady Maroons committed 24 turnovers that led to 14 Lady Warrior points.
However, with UE holding an imposing lead, the Lady Warriors relaxed on the defensive end as UP was able to cut the lead to just eight after a Daphne Esplana triple with a minute remaining much to the dismay of Lebornio.
“Kaso nag-relax sila nung fourth quarter. Two points lang na-score namin during the first eight minutes. Hindi puwede yun,” Lebornio said.
Esplana led UP with 16 points while Marian Domingo notched a double-double with 13 points and 19 rebounds.
UE will have a week off before facing the 2-1 Ateneo Lady Eagles on Sunday, September 24 at 8:00am. UP, on the other hand, looks for its first win when it faces the DLSU Lady Archers on Saturday, September 23 at 8:00am. Both games will be played at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
UE 52 – Sto. Domingo 15, Ramos 12, Francisco 12, Chan 6, Tacula 4, Nama 3, Gayacao 0, Cortizano 0, Requiron 0, Strachan 0, Pedregosa 0, Bobis 0, Borromeo 0.
UP 42 – Esplana 16, Domingo 13, Isip 5, Ordoveza 4, Rodas 4, Cruz 0, Pesquera 0, Tan S. 0, Lapid 0, Ongsiako 0, Bascon 0, Viray 0, Gatpatan 0, Tan K. 0.
Quarterscores: 14-9, 29-26, 48-31, 52-42.