Finishing the elimination round with an impressive 11-3 win-loss record, the DLSU Lady Archers enter the Final Four as the second seed and will stake their twice-to-beat advantage against the UE Lady Warriors tomorrow, November 30, at 12 noon, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
With the NU Lady Bulldogs finishing the elimination round with a 14-0 sweep, the three other playoff teams must go through a stepladder playoff to clinch the remaining spot in the finals. The playoffs started last Saturday with the fourth seed AdU Lady Falcons taking on the third seed UE Lady Warriors. The latter squeezed through with a 48-45 victory, advancing to the semi-finals. The Lady Warriors, who finished third with a 10-4 record, missed the opportunity for a twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs, but are now looking to upset the Lady Archers after surviving a gritty do-or-die game against AdU.
While NU dominated majority of the league in terms of statistics, DLSU also had their own fair share of dominance. The Lady Archers proved that they were the best team in moving the ball on offense, leading the league in assists with 16.3 per outing. DLSU shot a league-best 30.9 percent from behind the three-point line during the elimination round as a result from its team play. Defensively, they were focused on forcing turnovers from their opponents with their full court press, averaging 8.9 steals per game, the league’s second best.
The Lady Archers also highly capitalized on their opponents’ errors, scoring an average of 22.2 points off turnovers per game. This will be vital in facing the Lady Warriors, who committed the least turnovers during the elimination round. Improved shooting from the free throw line will also be a point of improvement for La Salle, who shot a league-worst 51.9 percent. Coincidentally, rival UE is the best free throw shooting team in the league.
Tight first round encounter
The first round meeting between the two teams was a tightly contested matchup as the Lady Archers escaped with a 74-72 victory. They were led by the all-around performances of Khate Castillo and Camille Claro, who finished with a combined 38 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists. For UE, Anna Requiron, Love Sto. Domingo, and Nicole Medina all finished with double digit points, with 21, 15, and 10 points, respectively. Despite the scoring the players provided, the Lady Warriors still fell short from victory.
Second meeting, same result
The second round matchup ended with the same result as the Lady Archers swept the season series against UE with an emphatic 70-64 victory. Leading DLSU again were Khate Castillo and Camille Claro, who both showed another outstanding performance. Castillo led the Lady Archers again in scoring as she finished with a game-high 18 points. Claro contributed another all-around performance with 17 points, six rebounds, and five assists. For the Lady Warriors, Love Sto. Domingo stepped up yet again with an impressive statline of 18 points, 14 rebounds, and three blocks. Bienca Ramos finished with a double-double performance with 10 points and 12 rebounds, but it was not enough to keep La Salle at bay. The victory solidified the Lady Archer’s hold on the second seed while keeping pace with NU.
A victory for the Lady Archers tomorrow will clinch the last finals berth, and allow DLSU to face the challenge of facing the unbeaten Lady Bulldogs, who they have yet to lose a game this season. A win for the UE Red Warriors, on the other hand, will send this series to a winner-take-all game and will result to their first win in three tries against the Lady Archers this season.