It was a tale of two halves as the DLSU Lady Archers fell to two wins and one loss after succumbing to the NU Lady Bulldogs, 72-59. The defending champions capped off their win with a 17-0 run late in the fourth quarter to keep their Season 79 record unblemished with four wins and zero losses. DLSU was unable to hold off NU despite producing 25 points off the bench compared to the latter’s five. Afril Bernardino was dominant from the get-go, leading all scorers and rebounders with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Khate Castillo and Benette Revillosa each scored 13 points for the Lady Archers, with the former draining 3 three-pointers.
DLSU opened the game with a three-pointer courtesy of Castillo as both teams started the game with a high pace. With NU’s tall line-up defending the paint, La Salle had to depend on good ball movement and shooting around the perimeter to stay in the game. This was evident in the difference of assists between the two teams, with La Salle finishing with 19 assists and NU finishing with only 12. Coach Cholo Villanueva stated, “They [Lady Archers] executed the game plan well, on point. They were focused, concentrated on what we were doing offensively and defensively.”
Revillosa, Castillo, and Jamie Roxas were all able to create good opportunities for themselves. However, it was not a good start for Camille Claro and Snow Penaranda, who were only able to contribute 2 points each at the half. Beyond this, the Lady Archers were also outrebounded by the Lady Bulldogs, and the latter took advantage of the situation, scoring 16 second chance points while the former only managed four.
Second half meltdown
The turnaround was apparent at the start of the third quarter. The Lady Bulldogs began with a 7-0 run, and even though in some instances, the Lady Archers were able to tie the game, they were unable to take the lead from their opponents who were in the driver’s seat for most of the second half.
DLSU’s ability to handle the ball was tested by NU’s defense. In the second half alone, they turned over the ball 16 times, a stat that Coach Villanueva wasn’t happy about. “We made mental mistakes. We put ourselves in situations [where] we would make mistakes.”
The Lady Archers were able to retaliate the Lady Bulldogs’ early 7-0 run with an 11-0 run of their own. However, the latter ignited a 17-0 run which ultimately sealed the deal, keeping their record unblemished. DLSU was only able to score 22 points in the second half, compared to NU’s 37 points.
Even with the loss, however, Villanueva remains positive with the fact that their improvement from last season was obvious and that they will be able to compete with NU this season. “It is a small step for us, improving from last year. Our first game last year, we lost around 24 or 21 points, but this year, we led at halftime. The problem is that we relaxed at the second half and lost our focus.”
Next up for the Lady Archers will be the UST Growling Tigresses on Wednesday, September 21, at 10 am at the Mall of Asia Arena.