In what is a rebuilding year for their program, the University of the East Lady Warriors finally clinched their first win of the UAAP Season 81 Women’s Basketball Tournament with a 49-40 victory over the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons.
Christine Cortizano and Anna Requiron provided double-doubles for UE with 17 points and 10 rebounds and 13 points and 17 rebounds respectively, this Wednesday afternoon at the Blue Eagle Gym in Quezon City. Joyce Francisco also chipped in eight points and 10 rebounds.
UE mentor Aileen Lebornio shared, “Unang-una we are adjusting talaga dahil sa 10 players ko na nawala. I’m happy dun sa mga players especially dun sa mga rookie ko na mabilis silang nakaka-adapt ng system.”
The Lady Warriors looked set to coast towards win number one when Princess Pedregosa’s basket at the 6:59 mark of the third period gave UE their biggest lead of the ballgame at 31-17. However, the Lady Maroons retaliated with a 15-1 run closed by Andrea Ferrer’s charity to make it 32-32 at the end of the quarter.
With the scores level, Cortizano’s three ignited a 7-0 rally by the Lady Warriors to provide a 39-32 cushion early in the final period. Noella Cruz then scored four straight points to kickstart UP’s comeback, while Lou Ordeveza brought the Lady Maroons within two, 40-42, with only 1:57 left on the game clock.
But that was as good as it got for Kenneth Raval’s team, as Francisco’s clutch three at the 1:35 mark eliminated any resistance from the Lady Maroons. Francsisco’s three-point shot earned UE a 45-40 cushion, which proved to be too much for UP. Free throws from Francisco, Requiron and Pedregosa sealed the 49-40 win right at the end.
Lebornio praised veterans Requiron and Francisco for leading the team down the stretch. “Yun lang naman sabi ko sa kanila, ‘Dalhin niyo yung team. Bigyan niyo kami ng magandang laro.’ Yung puso ng dalawa talagang… Sabi ko walang mahirap. Pag gusto niyo manalo, walang mahirap, walang imposible. Bilog ang bola.”
UE relied on their rebounding to win the game, as they had 58 boards compared to UP’s 46, who in turn led to 20 offensive rebounds versus the latter’s 12.
Cruz paced UP with 16 point,s while Ordeveza got nine boards. The result was also UP’s 22nd consecutive loss.
Both schools’ next games will be on September 30 at the Blue Eagle Gym. UE take on the Adamson University Lady Falcons at 9:00 AM, while State U face the defending champions National University Lady Bulldogs afterwards at 1:00 PM.
UE (49) – Cortizano 17, Requiron 13, Francisco 8, Pedregosa P 5, Pedregosa A 4, Ganade 1, Cuadero 1, Nama 0, Borromeo 0, Strachan 0.
UP (40) – Cruz 16, De Guzman 8, Gonzales 5, Ordoveza 4, Ferrer 3, Rodas 2, Bascon 2, Medina 0, Amar 0, Rivera 0, De Leon 0, Larrosa 0, Hidalgo 0.
Quarterscores: 9-7, 25-17, 32-32, 40-49.