The DLSU Lady Archers earned their ninth UAAP Season 85 win after beating the AdU Lady Falcons, 54-48, earlier today, November 13, at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion.
Leading DLSU to their Final Four clincher, Charmine Torres posted 14 points, seven rebounds, and five steals while Fina Niantcho tallied a double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds. Lee Sario struggled in the outing, shooting one of 10 from the field but ended the contest with seven points—where majority of her markers came from the free throw line.
For AdU, Victoria Adeshina recorded a massive double-double performance with 20 points and 20 rebounds to go along with two steals. Cris Padilla also scored in double figures for the Lady Falcons, scoring 11 points while shooting a perfect three of three from beyond the arc.
Grinding it out
The two teams were engaged in a neck-and-neck affair from the get-go. After some early scoring woes in the opening quarter, the Lady Archers looked to turn defense into offense, pressing the Lady Falcons. After a steal, Torres managed to break free for a layup, prompting the Adamson bench to call a timeout with 4:45 left in the first period with DLSU in the lead, 10-9. The rest of the frame was scrappy as both teams canceled each other out on defense. DLSU was trailing at the tail end of the first quarter before Marga Jimenez hit a buzzer-beating jumper to give her side a slim 12-11 advantage.
The team from Taft got into a better offensive rhythm in the second period, with Jimenez and Sario each scoring a jumper before the latter a free throw, 17-11. Majority of the Lady Archers’ offense came at the line as the Lady Falcons struggled to contain their aggression in the paint before Torres pulled up for a transition jumper with slightly less than three minutes remaining in the first half. The Green and White managed to create slight separation going into the halftime break, 25-19.
Fighting tooth and nail
Torres remained aggressive in the open floor, scoring two straight buckets in transition to pad La Salle’s lead, 29-21, in the first few minutes of the second half. Adeshina shouldered the bulk of the offensive load for AdU, keeping her side afloat. As the main offensive options for their respective sides, Torres and Adeshina went at it in the third period. Eventually it was the former who gave her side the upper hand, 37-28, with four minutes to play in the frame. La Salle managed to hold on to the momentum from their hot start, exiting the quarter with an eight-point advantage, 41-33.
The Lady Archers were up by as much as 11,41-30, in the third quarter but struggled to hold their lead as the Lady Falcons fought back with renewed aggression in the final period of play. This caused the Taft-based squad’s lead to diminish to as little as one, 43-42, at the 5:44 mark. At the worst point of La Salle’s fourth-quarter meltdown, Luisa de la Paz scored her first basket of the game in timely fashion—pulling up for a baseline jumper to give the Green and White some much-needed breathing room, 47-44. Both teams went back and forth but the Lady Archers managed to ice the game with free throws by Torres, Sario, and Niantcho to record their ninth win, 54-48, and secure a Final Four berth.
DLSU head coach Cholo Villanueva discusses the grit-and-grind nature of his team, saying, “We’re not gonna be dominating teams. We need to outwork, outsmart our opponents.”
While the mentor is happy with where his team currently stands, he reminds that there is still much competitive basketball to be played, “Reaching the Final Four is one of our goals this tournament, but we’re not yet done. We have three more games left. We want to build momentum going into the next phase of the tournament. But, it’s a big achievement [to be] back in the Final Four.”
The DLSU Lady Archers will aim to continue their undefeated second-round run versus the UP Fighting Maroons at 3 pm on November 19, Saturday, at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion.
DLSU 54 – Torres 14, Niantcho 10, Sario 7, Ahmed 6, Jimenez 5, Espinas 4, Binaohan 4, Dalisay 2, de la Paz 2, Castillo 0, Villava-Cua 0
AdU 48 – Adeshina 20. Padilla 11, Alaba 6, Flor 5, Agojo 4, Catulong 2, Dampios 0, Ornopia 0, De la Cruz 0, Meniano 0, Etang 0
Quarter Scores: 12-11, 25-19, 41-33, 54-48