Lady Archers breaks through 2nd round, barges into final four

While their male counterparts lost in the UAAP semis bout, the Lady Archers are headed straight back to the final four of the UAAP Season 74 Women’s Basketball tournament.

The Green-and-White cagebelles secured a post-season berth after dispatching UE, Ateneo and Adamson to hike a 5-0 winning rally at the start of the second round eliminations.

Unfortunately, the Tyrone Bautista-mentored squad failed to maintain an immaculate 2nd round record as they suffer their fourth loss against FEU Lady Tamaraws, pulling them down to 9-4, tied with defending champions Adamson Lady Falcons at third.

With merely a game left on the playoff race, the Taft-based cagebelles remain in contention for the bridesmaid slot with a twice-to-beat advantage as it won against National U’s last Sept. 11, at the Blue Eagle Gym.

“We are fine at both ends and we just need to sustain our energy,” Lady Archers Head Coach Bautista remarks.

Caught off guard by FEU’s revenge

It was another game decided in overtime, this time the decision did not favor the Taft-based squad. Front-runner FEU Lady Tamarraws stunned the Lady Archers in the extra minutes, 53-59, last Sept. 4, to avenge its debut loss.

The Taft-based cagebelles exploded in the last period, headed by former Rookie of the Year Ara Abaca, registering two crucial charities to force overtime in the losing end.

Going into overtime, it seems that the Archers ran out of gas as they miss their first four shots, while the Tams tipped in their four attempts. The Green-and-White squad seemed lost before team captain Hannah Viterbo nailed a trifecta, which was their first and last field goal. Lady Tamarraw Allana Lim completed their revenge, pouring in 20 points.

Held scoreless for two minutes, the Lady Archers yielded the opening quarter to last year’s second runner-up. The Taft-based squad then drew five out of the seven straight points from second-stringer Camille Ramos to minimize the separation in the second canto. The Green-and-Gold, however, continued their advance to close the period 27-20.

The start of the second half parallels the series of runs in the second quarter. Lady Archers once again inch within two but FEU’s Karen Columna fired up three triples to push the margin at 44-36.

Coach Bautista points out that his squad lacked energy and aggressiveness in the opening frame.

He also mentions that it was too late when they got their rhythm back because their opponent already gained momentum and confidence.

“I think we just came out flat this game,” Coach Bautista shares.

Blanking the defending champions in OT

An exchange of baskets plus two free throws from the Lady Archers, with the Lady Falcons’ missing their final possession, tied the scoreboard at 51-all, extending the game for five minutes.

The Lady Archers then responded with a 7-0 rampage in overtime for a 58-51 spoiler against the back-to-back champions last Aug. 31.

Both teams went back and forth at each other throughout the regulation, but the heart and vertical advantage of the Lady Archers ultimately won.

“They did not lose their heart to win as everyone showed their aggressiveness in attacking the basket and fishing fouls at the same time,” the Lady Archers’ mentor says.

Sophomore floor general Trisha Piatos mustered a team-high 15 points with the front court tandem of Center Kady Wilson, chipping in 13 markers and 21 boards, and Abaca with 13 and 15 respectively.

Ending the first period with a close 22-19 margin, the Lady Archers escaped with a three-point lead after multiple cat-and-mouse chases.

At the start of the second half buzzer, the Lady Falcons cruised to a 7-3 run capped off by a buzzer-beating trey of Anna Buendia to swing back the momentum to San Marcelino. Despite the four-point cushion of the Lady Falcons at the start of the final quarter, the Lady Archers countered with a 9-0 charge before the opposition came back to level the ball game.

No end game heroics for the Lady Eagles

A nail-biting 11-0 Lady Eagles’ run in the closing minutes of the game was not enough. The Lady Archers endured the late game spurt of the Ateneo Lady Eagles at their home court, 43-39, last Aug. 28.

Displaying tremendous clutch and poise when it matters the most, the Lady Archers leaned on Abaca’s crunch time charity, blunting a late Lady Eagle comeback that saw Sarah Mercado cut their lead to just three points, 41-38, with 1:35 left in the game.

With only 8.8 ticks left, Lady Archer Nicole Garcia could have wrapped up the win, but missed her free throws. Fortunately for Garcia, her teammate Abaca was in the right place at the right time, snatching the deciding offensive rebound.

Abaca then received an elbow from Mercado, which drew a technical foul. Abaca hit one of her charities, restoring a five-point charity that the Lady Eagles did not have enough time to overcome.

“We lost our composure in the closing minutes. Our offense could not capitalize. Our defense relaxed. I just told the girls to regroup in the hardcourt. Play hard and eventually we got the win,” shares Coach Tyrone Bautista.

End game rally past UE Amazons

It felt like déjà vu as the Lady Archers earned win number seven against the UE Amazons via a come from behind surge once again in 45 minutes, 63-57, at the Blue Eagle Gym last Aug. 24.

The Taft-based cagebelles pounded the Lady Warriors at the start of overtime through a Wilson shot from point-blank range and a Piatos trey in swift succession. The Lady Warriors failed to respond from that run as the Archers held on to boost their final four chances.

The Green shirts were caught napping in the first half canto, with the UE squad pacing into halftime with 16-23 advantage.

It was then a see-saw battle after that play as the two squads displayed exchanges in scoring and turnovers. Lady Archers’ forward Abaca did not waste any chances by forcing an extra period at the 54-knot with a sweet lay-up finish.

“They [UE] are giving a lot of teams some scares. They are not the same UE team as before, so we cannot take them or any team lightly,” Coach Bautista notes.

Also, he expressed his frustration regarding his girls’ slow start, stressing the team’s overconfidence, which resulted to an early UE lead. Still, it is considered a good win as Bautista’s wards sure learned another lesson from the experience.

Adiel Sam De Jesus

By Adiel Sam De Jesus

Jerome Alvarez

By Jerome Alvarez

Brian Lance Tamayao

By Brian Lance Tamayao

Leave a Reply