Figuring in a heated affair, the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigresses rallied around their coach, stifling the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws in the end game to take a 73-67 win for solo second, Saturday afternoon at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
“I think nung na-technical ako, nabuhayan yung mga bata,” quipped UST head coach Haydee Ong, who steered UST 3-1 slate after finishing with just two wins in the first round last season. “It’s a great comeback for us. Down from eight, sinabi ko sa kanila to na yung defense namin nag-double time. We forced them to a lot of turnovers.”
Frustrated with the calls, Ong was assessed a technical foul for her second resentment to a call with 6:27 remaining that sparked an 8-2 FEU rally that gave the Lady Tamaraws a 65-57 lead with 3:47 left.
But Sai Larosa overcame her first half struggles, carrying the Growling Tigresses on her shoulders in the end game.
“Si Larosa nung second half did her job,” beamed Ong. “The second half belonged to her and that turned the game over.”
With the defense of UST clicking, Larosa took charge in the offensive end, scoring 11 of her 17 points in the final frame — five in the last three minutes including the go-ahead basket with 1:04 left.
Jhenn Angeles added 21 points to complement Larosa’s output. Larosa also hauled down 10 rebounds and was able to pick up three steals.
A foul by Anjel Anies on a three-point attempt by Valerie Mamaril almost cost UST with 31.2 remaining but a basket by Larosa and free throws by Angeles sealed the win.
“I tried to change our defense a little bit para medyo maging unbalanced yung defense nila. Nag-zone and nag-match up kami which thankfully worked,” said Ong.
Valerie Mamaril paced FEU with 21 points while Fatima Quiapo picked up her career-high with 11 markers. However, Queen Tamaraw Precious Arellado was limited to just 2-for-6 shooting while committing five turnovers.
UST looks to make it two in a row when it faces the Ateneo Lady Eagles on Wednesday, September 27 at 10:00am. FEU, on the other hand, will have a tough next outing, taking on the gold standard NU Lady Bulldogs on the same day at 8:00am.
UST 73 – Angeles 21, Anies 18, Larosa 17, Isanan 8, Gandalla 6, Tortillo 2, Aujero 1, Rivera 0, Capilit 0, Penaflor 0, Jerez 0, Magat 0.
FEU 67 – Mamaril 21, Quiapo 11, Arellado 9, Jumuad 9, Taguiam 7, Gerner 4, Balleser 4, Antiola 2, Bastatas 0, Payadon 0, Ouano 0, De Guzman 0.
Quarterscores: 19-16, 35-32, 51-55, 73-67.