With the first round of the UAAP Season 77 Women’s Basketball tournament said and done, La Salle’s cagebelles are once again in good position to win the championship.
Emerging as last season’s queens of collegiate basketball, the DLSU Lady Archers have put themselves in a fighting chance to defend the title as they concluded the Round 1 of the UAAP 77 Women’s Basketball Tournament a 6-1 record–the second best in the league.
Carrying the momentum after a championship finish, the Lady Archers won six straight games to start the new season. Different protagonists stepped up their game in every victory leaving their opponents guessing on who to defend.
In the season opener, reigning finals MVP Trisha Piatos capitalized on her shooting precision by hitting five of 10 three-pointers to carry the team with a 56-50 win over the UST Tigresses. The Lady Archers followed it up with a balanced attack over the AdU Lady Falcons, 50-42, led by Ana Castillo and Camille Claro who scored eight points apiece. A dominant 66-31 victory over UP Lady Maroons kept the momentum going with Alyanna Ong top scoring for La Salle with 11 markers.
Meanwhile, Nicole Garcia spearheaded the Taft-based squad with 14 points in a 64-56 rout against the UE Lady Warriors. In a classic rivalry match against Ateneo, Cass Santos fired eight points in just only 11 minutes of play as La Salle came out on top after a low-scoring ball game, 48-39. A neck and neck match against the FEU Lady Tamaraws went in the Lady Archers’ favor, 46-43, as Garcia exploded for a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds.
But the defending champions eventually ran out of firepower to end the first round as they get crushed by the Lady Bulldogs, 77-55, their only loss yet in the tournament. Only Camille Claro managed to record a double digit in points with 11 in the losing effort. The game marked the end of DLSU’s seven-game winning streak extending back to last season and a complete round 1 sweep for NU.
It seems that Coach Tyrone Bautista found the right mix for the squad as the veterans and the rookies were able to play together seamlessly. Having a breakout game against UST, veteran guard Piatos is yet to explode again from three-point territory. Another veteran in the name of Garcia managed to provide the points and other key stats every time the team needs it. Inna Corcuera remained to be a resilient inside presence along with rookie Jamie Roxas grabbing the boards and preventing the team to score inside the paint.
Despite the Lady Archers’ smaller lineups compared to most teams, the Green-and-White were able to capitalize on their quickness around the court and shooting precision to notch the victory. In their games against UST, AdU, and ADMU, DLSU experienced slow starts letting their opponents score the first few points of the match. But come second quarter, the Lady Archers quickly caught fire as they took the lead for good and never looked back.
Coming in the second round of the tournament, holding on to their spot in the Final Four would be crucial for a chance to claim the title once more.
The Lady Archers will continue their journey to the championship as they square off with the AdU Lady Falcons at 8 am on August 16 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
vs. UST – 56-50
Piatos – 23 points, 5 rebounds
Garcia – 9 points
Vergara – 8 points
vs. AdU – 50-42
Castillo – 8
Claro – 8
Piatos – 7
vs. UP – 66-31
A. Ong 11 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists
Vergara 10 points
vs. UE – 64-56
Garcia – 14 points, 8 rebounds
Piatos – 11 points
M. Ong – 7 assists
vs. ADMU – 48-39
Santos – 8 points
M. Ong – 6 points, 12 rebounds
vs. FEU – 46-43
Garcia – 15 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
Piatos – 10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists
vs. NU – 55-77
Claro – 11 points
Concuera – 9 points
First Round Standings
NU – 7-0
DLSU – 6-1
UST – 4-3