Size proved to be a major factor for the DLSU Lady Archers as they dropped their first match in UAAP Season 78 to the National University Lady Bulldogs, 90-78, earlier today at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Afril Bernardino spearheaded the attack for the defending champions with her 15-point and five-rebound output, while national team member Shelley Gupilan finished with 11 points and five steals.
Lady Archer Ana Castillo had a team-high 15 points and added six rebounds. Teammate Camille Claro, on the other hand, finished the game with 13 points and six assists.
The first quarter went back and forth as both teams appeared to be clicking on offense early in the game. Alyanna Vergara scored six of her 14 points in the first period after hitting two timely three pointers. The Taft-based squad had a height disadvantage in every position, giving up six offensive rebounds in the opening quarter. When the period ended, NU emerged with a 23-17 lead.
Despite the pressure defense of the Lady Bulldogs early in the second quarter, DLSU made two quick fastbreak layups that trimmed the lead to just three points. However, the Lady Archers had three straight turnovers midway through the quarter that gave NU fastbreak opportunities. The tandem of Andrea Tongco and Bernardino took advantage of La Salle’s errors, combining for 13 points and nearly scoring more than DLSU’s total output in the quarter. DLSU had a 9-0 run towards the final two minutes of the half including a buzzer beating layup from Castillo. Despite this, the Lady Archers still trailed NU at halftime, 41-32.
The Lady Bulldogs started to pull away during the third quarter, once again capitalizing on their size with nine offensive rebounds in the quarter. La Salle also had difficulty taking care of the ball as they gave up nine turnovers during the period. Consequently, DLSU had only 14 attempts from the field, against 26 from the Lady Bulldogs. Gupilan picked up her scoring with eight third-quarter points on two three-pointers. La Salle tried to make a run late in the quarter with two field goals from backup center Jamie Roxas, but NU had an answer for every Lady Archer basket. At the end of the third quarter, the score was 72-46, still in favor of NU.
The Lady Archers attempted one more comeback in the deciding quarter behind 10 fourth-quarter points from rookie Snow Peñaranda as they reduced the lead to as low as 12 points with three minutes remaining in the game. The Lady Bulldogs, however, forced two vital turnovers in the last 90 seconds of the game, preventing DLSU from inching closer in the dying minutes. La Salle ran out of time and the game ended with NU on top, 90-78.
The Lady Archers’ next game will be against the UE Lady Warriors, whom they will play this Sunday, September 13, at 1 pm in the Blue Eagle Gym.
NU 90- Bernardino 15, Nabalan 12, Gupilan 11, Abriam 9, Paig 9, Tongco 7, Itesi 6, Antiquera 5 Animam 5, Miranda 4, Sison 3, Reyes 2, Harada 2, Riel 0, Del Carmen 0, Layug 0
DLSU 78- Castillo 15, Vergara 14, Claro 13, Penaranda 13, Ong 9, Abaca 7, Roxas 5, Vela 2, Dagdagan 0, Gonzales 0, Oyao 0
Quarter Scores: 23-17, 41-32, 72-46, 90-78