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Lady Archers hang on to third slot

A year removed from their UAAP Season 72 campaign, it appears that it will be déjà vu all over again for the Lady Archers, as they currently have a hold of the third seed heading into the crucial Final Four stage of the tournament, holding on to a precarious half-game lead against the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Tigresses with an 8-4 win-loss record.

A year removed from their UAAP Season 72 campaign, it appears that it will be déjà vu all over again for the Lady Archers, as they currently have a hold of the third seed heading into the crucial Final Four stage of the tournament, holding on to a precarious half-game lead against the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Tigresses with an 8-4 win-loss record.

The squad absorbed only their fourth setback against the Lady Tamaraws, but rebounded after convincing victories against University of the East (UE) and National University (NU).

Derailed by the Lady Tamaraws

The second encounter between the Lady Archers and the FEU Lady Tamaraws turned out to be a game of spurts, but during the third quarter, the Tamaraws unloaded a huge 16-7 run that proved to be too much for the Green-and-White cagebelles as they dropped their fourth game of the season, 53-66, Aug. 31 at the Fil-Oil Arena in San Juan.

Lady Tamaraw Karen Columna unloaded 11 of her game-high 18 points during the third, including three triples which broke the backs of the Lady Archers, who were bannered by Aracelie Abaca and last year’s Rookie of the Year Joy Ong, who scattered 13 and 11 points, respectively. Kady Wilson corralled 12 rebounds, including eight offensive boards, to go with her nine points.

With DLSU staring at a 12-point hole, the team relied on the endgame exploits of Ong, Wilson, and Chelisa Corcuera as they desperately tried to cut into the Tamaraw lead. But their woeful 27.6% field goal shooting compounded their problems, including 14 botched free throws as the duo of Raiza Palmera and Allana Lim traded baskets with the Taft-based squad to repulse their rally and preserve the victory.

Back-to-back triples by Columna to start the third period opened up a hotly contested ballgame for the Tamaraws. With Lim joining in the fray, the Archers were hard-pressed with only baskets by Abaca keeping their offense afloat. Charities by Columna gave the Tamaraws their biggest lead, a 47-33 bubble. Ong and Wilson then teamed to narrow the gap to ten at the end of the third.

After Columna put the Lady Tamaraws ahead by eight points, 24-16; our own cagebelles answered with a run of their own, drawing within two points, 26-28, near the end of the second quarter. An 11-2 starting blitz by the Tamaraws was also answered earlier by DLSU as they erased the deficit to tie the count at 11 apiece, which would be the game’s first and last deadlock.

The Lady Tamaraws, along with the defending champions, the Adamson Lady Falcons, remained as the only teams who have not been beaten by the Lady Archers. It could be remembered that the two were the finalists last season, with DLSU finishing third.

Caging the Lady Bulldogs

The Lady Archers faced the eager National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs held, Aug. 29 at the Araneta Coliseum.  The Taft-based squad sped past NU, taking the lead all the way to the third quarter, where the Lady Bulldogs slowly but steadily started biting back with their offense.

Due to turnovers and tight defense, the Lady Bulldogs owned the fourth quarter and narrowed the 30-point lead to a nine-point gap. Despite the Bulldogs’ quick run, the cagebelles from Taft luckily bagged their eighth win.

The Green-and-White team started out cautiously, testing the waters in the first few minutes of the first quarter. Miller Ong drew first blood by securing a 3-point shot that heated up the rest of the Lady Archers. The Blue-and-Gold team, however, exchanged baskets as well. Following the offensive rally of the Archers, the Bulldogs showed signs of a comeback but was denied by the tight defense of DLSU. The output of NU was limited to seven points at the end of the first canto.

Guards Trisha Piatos and Hannah Viterbo gunned down three-pointers from the start until the end of the second quarter, which significantly contributed to a bigger lead.  Their prevalent defense was also a crucial factor, limiting the output of NU to only five points. The Bulldogs committed numerous fouls which gave DLSU more scoring opportunities that resulted to three-point plays; thus widening the lead to 26 points and ending the first half with 38-12.

In the third period, the Lady Archer lead reached as high as 33 points. The Taft-based squad suddenly came alive as each of them contributed to their biggest lead of the ball game. Trisha Piatos and Ong scattered their triples as Cassandra Santos, Eileen Urieta, Chelisa Calaquian and Rica Andico pinched in a number of points to stretch the lead. Just when the cards started to favor the Archers, the latter started to score with NU producing a 13-point output. DLSU was still able to sustain the lead by producing 17 points and closing the quarter with a 30-point margin, 55-25.

During the fourth quarter, the Lady Bulldogs breezed past the Lady Archers as they made a stunning 34-point run, at the same time limiting DLSU’s output to 10 points. Bulldogs Carmina Laquindanum and Jovelyn Mejia did most of the work as the lead narrowed down to six points with their constant rally of point-making via field goals and penalty shots. Despite the unexpected run, the Lady Archers still succeed in defending their lead escaped with the win.

Balanced attack picks apart Lady Warriors

The historic Araneta Coliseum has borne witness to one too many of our classic basketball games, but the match between the Lady Archers and the Lady Warriors was not one of them as the Taft-based squad used a telling 27-4 run, bridging the second and third quarters, to coast to an easy 84-63 victory last Aug. 26.

Their defense already told on the Warriors as they scored a paltry nine points during the first quarter, but it was in the second quarter when the Archers pulled away and dominated the Recto-based squad. After Lady Warrior Katherine Tan sank a basket which pulled her team to within six points, 21-27, Joy Ong and Eileen Urieta took turns in scoring as they turned the small margin into a gaping 48-23 hole, three minutes into the third canto.

The Red-and-White squad tried to slice into the lead by scoring 31 points in the fourth, but the Lady Archers scored 23 of their own. The staggering 36 turnovers of the Warriors was likewise their folly, as the Archers exploited those miscues and translated it to 38 points.

Ong paced the balanced attack of the Green-and-White dribblers as she banged in 13 points to go with nine boards and a game-high five steals to lead five Lady Archers who scored in double figures.

Aracelie Abaca followed with an all-around performance of a dozen points together with eight boards and three assists. Urieta, not to be outdone, netted 11 points to go with her four steals. Kady Wilson and Inna Corcuera scored 10 apiece.

Dianne Ventura and Cindy Resultay were the only bright spots for the Lady Warriors, as they combined for 46 of their team’s 63 points. Resultay also asserted her might at the shaded lane by grabbing a game-high 20 rebounds and handed seven assists.

The Lady Archers spread love on the statistics sheet by dominating almost every category. The huge 59-44 rebounding edge enabled DLSU to score 22 second chance points against the mere six of the Warriors. Their 15 steals leer over the three made by their opponents. The Red Warriors score a solitary bench point, a charity made by Janet Dollero during the second quarter, which pales in comparison with the 40 bench points of the Tyrone-Bautista-mentored squad.

The win enabled DLSU to duplicate a similar beating of the Warriors during the first round and also kept the Warriors from barging into the win-column as they suffered their tenth straight setback.

By Imman Canicosa

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