Coming off a disappointing loss to the UST Growling Tigresses, the University of the East needed a push that would carry them back to the win column. And the much-needed lift came from Joyce Francisco, as she provided the spark in the Lady Warriors’ 69-68 win over the De La Salle University Lady Archers, Saturday morning at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in San Juan City.
Francisco, who is celebrating her 20th birthday today, scored nine of her 13 points in the final frame.
“Malaking bagay. Aside sa birthday niya, malaking bagay na nag-step up siya sa min. Kahit papano, siya yung sinandalan ng team nung fourth quarter,” said Lady Warriors assistant coach Len Macalalad.
The Lady Warriors saw their 11-point lead evaporate in the hands of a scorching Khate Castillo, who knocked down four of her seven three-pointers in the third frame.
“Na-contain nila si Ruthlain [Tacula] at na-foul trouble pa si [Eunique] Chan. Below par yung laro ni Tacula for the last three games,” added Macalalad about their struggles, as Tacula finished with just two points, while Chan fouled out with 7:15 remaining in the game.
La Salle led by as much as four points, 64-60, with 3:10 left. Francisco was able to answer right back with five straight points, capped by a triple, to give the Lady Warriors’ the edge with 1:39 left.
A baseline drive by Kath Nunez led to an and-one while picking up Francisco’s fourth foul. Alyssa Gayacao answered right back with a sweeping hook shot to knot the game.
Joehanna Arciga gave La Salle their last taste of the lead after splitting her free throws coming off Francisco’s last foul.
“Sinabi lang namin, let’s stay focused and maximize what we have,” the assistant coach recalled.
The breaks favored the Lady Warriors in the end game, as Chai Vergara fouled Love Sto. Domingo with 13.2 second left that led to free throws. Sto. Domingo calmly sank both freebies, while misses by Nunez, Vergara, and Arciga sealed the win for UE.
Sto. Domingo finished with 17 points and 15 rebounds.
“Blessing in disguise pa rin dahil sa amin pa rin nag favor yung game. Buti na lang nakabalik at nanalo,” Macalalad said, as UE finished the first round with a 5-2 slate, tied with UST.
La Salle, on the other hand, dropped to 2-5.
Besides Castillo, Arciga also had a stand out game with 21 points and eight rebounds.
UE 69 – Sto. Domingo 17, Francisco 13, Chan 13, Gayacao 7, Cortizano 7, Requiron 6, Ramos 2, Tacula 2, Strachan 2, Nama 0.
DLSU 68 – Castillo 23, Arciga 12, Nunez 12, Vergara 9, Torres 5, Jimenez 2, Javier 2, Dagdagan 2, Paraiso 1, Figueroa 0.
Quarterscores: 12-13, 35-27, 48-51, 69-68.
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