The University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigresses have mostly relied on the duo of Sai Larosa and Grace Irebu. But in the midst of a skid in the most important part of the season, the Growling Tigresses found another spark.
Behind Ana Tacatac’s career game, the Growling Tigresses kept their Final Four hopes alive while eliminating the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles with a 82-60 victory, Wednesday morning at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
With the win, there is now a log-jam for third to fifth place between UST, the Adamson Lady Falcons, and the DLSU Lady Archers, as all three squads sport identical 7-5 records. More importantly, the Growling Tigresses snapped their two-game skid.
“Yun yung sinasabi ko sa girls after we lost to Adamson na itong last three games namin, kailangan talaga. At least yung goal namin of making it to the Final Four nandun pa,” shared third-year UST head coach Haydee Ong.
And it was Tacatac who led UST’s romping.
After figuring in a slow first quarter, the rookie fired three of her eight triples in the opening frame, leading a 28-point second quarter for the Tigresses.
“Actually, sabi ko dun sa kanila, yung lacking namin is bench points. Si Sai, si Grace, and even si [Tin] Capilit are always there,” added Ong. “So, sinabi ko sa mga rookie namin na we need points from you. Mabuti naman pumutok yung bata ngayon. Thirty-one points, galing!”
Tacatac was not done with that, as she fired her eighth triple of the contest with 3:03 left in the game to give UST an imposing 77-54 lead.
Besides Tacatac, Irebu and Larosa also provided their usual numbers. Irebu tallied 23 points, 15 rebounds, and two blocks, while Larosa added 12 points, 10 rebounds, and five dimes. Reynalyn Ferrer also gobbled down 19 rebounds.
“I’m happy kasi lahat contributed. Sana mag-carry over ito sa last two games,” the decorated mentor beamed.
Ateneo, who have been eliminated with a 4-8 record, were led by Jollina Go with 11 points, while Joanne Nimes had 10 markers. Nicole Cancio grabbed eight boards as well.
UST look to sustain their momentum from this win when they face the University of the East Red Warriors on Tuesday, November 13, at the Blue Eagle Gym. On the other hand, Ateneo look to stun arch-rivals De La Salle University Lady Archers later in the day.
UST (82) — Tacatac 31, Irebu 23, Larosa 12, Ferrer 7, Aujero 5, Capilit 3, Sangalang 1, Portillo 0, Rivera 0, Gonzales 0, Magat 0, Casiano 0, Valera 0.
ADMU (60) — Go 11, Nimes 10, Joson 9, Guytingco 7, Cancio 6, Villamor 5, Buendia 3, De Dios 3, Newsome 2, Payac 2, Gino-gino 2, Miranda 0, Seigle 0.
Quarterscores: 16-17, 44-28, 59-40, 82-60