The determined DLSU Lady Archers already have one hand gripped on the championship trophy. They seek to seize it with two hands with another win over the NU Lady Bulldogs in game two of the UAAP Season 76 best-of-three finale. The second finals game will be on Wednesday, at 11 am in the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
The Lady Archers came into the series with a full quiver of arrows as they overpowered the Lady Bulldogs via a 24 point rout in the first game of the finals. Ara Abaca once again led her team with a dominant 16 point and 11 rebound output and showed why she is again part of this year’s coveted Mythical Five.
The stellar supporting cast of DLSU came in full gear as guard Trisha Piatos scattered 15 markers from different spots beyond the arc. The unwavering will of center Cass Santos proved too much for NU as she poured in 11 points and seven rebounds, while the steadfast guard Niky Garcia pumped in 11 points and eight boards.
The squad from Taft must not let their guard down as the Lady Bulldogs, who are the best offensive team in the league, look to bounce back. Anne Gupilan, the lone bright spot of NU in the first game, looks to lead her team anew as she had 15 points and 12 rebounds. The Lady Bulldogs found it hard to crack open the vaunted La Salle defense as they only had five assists as opposed to DLSU’s 20.
Head coach Tyrone Bautista and his squad hounded the NU players all game long as they deployed a full-court defense which disrupted NU’s offense. NU mimicked the strategy of DLSU as they tried their own version of the full-court press at the end of the third quarter, but DLSU’s guards, led by Miller Ong, were unfazed and easily broke the trap.
Ong, the starting floor general for the Lady Archers, orchestrated her team perfectly as she filled up the stat sheet in a unique way. The composed point guard did not score a single point, but had a huge contribution with 10 assists and seven boards.
The Lady Archers were stopped by the FEU Lady Tamaraws at season’s end last year and came home with just a second place trophy. The Lady Archers have not won the coveted title since 2002, the last year of their historic four-peat.
With just one victory separating them from the championship, the Lady Archers are hoping to finally bring the trophy back to La Salle’s territory. The Lady Bulldogs though, backed with a strong overall season performance, will definitely try to claw themselves back into the series after their disappointing first finals game.