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Joyce Francisco, UE snap UST’s six-game winning streak in highly physical contest


The University of the East Lady Warriors got back at the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigresses, 66-62, Sunday morning at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City. And the Lady Warriors had to scratch and claw their way to victory, as the tilt turned highly physical and emotional.

“Sabi ko sa mga bata, laging ganun e, laging pipisikalin kayo ng kalaban. Kailangan lang maglaro ng basketball, hindi natin kailangan mapikon,” said Lady Warriors head coach Aileen Lebornio, “Just stay in the system at yun yung lumabas. Kung ano yung gawin nila sa court, mag-rereflect sa amin yun as coaches.”

Coming into the game, the Lady Warriors were riding a two-game winning streak, with their last loss coming at the hands of the Growling Tigresses last October 4, 2017, 49-54.

“Talagang pinaghandaan namin ito. Credit ito sa UST dahil ginising talaga nila kami,” added Lebornio.

With pint-sized guard Joyce Francisco proving the spark in a 13-4 rally, the Lady Warriors were able to gain a game-high 57-43 lead with 4:19 left.

But as the game wore on, the physicality increased. With 3:07 left, UST forward Bets Peñaflor was called for her second unsportsmanlike foul with 3:07 left after an elbow on Francisco. During a brief confrontation after that, Love Sto. Domingo was also called for a technical foul.

“Si Joyce talagang pinag-iinitan. Sabi ko sa kanya, ‘Joyce, mas magandang manalo kesa mapikon. Hindi tayo nanalo as individuals, nanalo tayo as a team. Tignan mo yung teammates mo na nagsasakripisyo.’ We are blessed na pumutok siya,” Lebornia recalled telling her floor general, who finished with 13 points, five rebounds, three assists, and a steal.

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Fired up, the Growling Tigresses toughened up their pressing defense, forcing the Lady Warriors into four straight turnovers. On the other end, Jhenn Angeles ignited an 8-0 run to cut the lead to just six, 60-54, with 1:53 remaining.

UE were able to stop the bleeding after breaking UST’s press with 1:43 left, as Bianca Ramos was able to convert on a tough basket, while free throws by Ruthlaine Tacula extended the lead to 10 with 1:22 left.

But the Growling Tigresses did not go down easily, as an Angeles triple, an under the basket stab by Sai Larosa, and another three by Angel Anies sliced the lead to just four with 20.5 ticks on the clock. However after forcing the Lady Warriors to a five-second turnover — their 21st error in the contest — the Growling Tigresses ran out of gas, seeing their six-game winning streak fall.

“Natuto kami dun sa pagkatalo namin sa kanila. I salute UST dahil hanggang sa dulo, hindi sila bumitaw,” Lebornio expressed.

The win lifted UE to a 7-2 slate, half a game behind the 8-2 UST.

Tacula glued things together for the Lady Warriors with 16 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists. Sto. Domingo posted a huge double-double with 13 points, 18 rebounds, and two blocks.

Moreover, the UE frontline out-rebounded UST’s, 51-35, that led to a 14-4 edge in second chance points.

Anies paced UST with 18 points, while Angeles filled up the stat sheet with 13 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals.

The Lady Warriors will next face the hapless University of the Philippines Lady Maroons on Wednesday, October 25, at 11:00am while UST look to bounce back on the same day against the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles at 10:00am. The former will be played at the Blue Eagle Gym, while the latter will be hosted by the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Scores:

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UE (66) – Tacula 16, Francisco 13, Sto Domingo 13, Chan 9, Ramos 6, Antonio 5, Cortizano 2, Gayacao 2.

UST (62) – Anies 18, Angeles 13, Gandalla 10, Larosa 9, Rivera 5, Penaflor 4, Capilit 2, Isanan 1, Portillo 0, Aujero 0, Sanggalang 0.

Quarterscores: 13-12, 31-25, 44-38, 66-62.

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