The DLSU Lady Archers aimed their arrows high and sustained their momentum, standing at 6-7 after slaying their rivals, the ADMU Blue Eagles, in an outstanding 67-61 match in the UAAP Season 86 Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City earlier today, November 15.
Leading the Lady Archers was player of the game Lee Sario, notching 15 points and eight rebounds, followed by Chuchi Paraiso also scoring 15 for the Green team. Despite losing their final four berth, the women in Green are determined to maintain their place in the rankings and fight for victory until the end.
For the rival team, Kayce Dela Rosa was the one topping the score sheets scoring double digits at 22 points. Junize Calago took the second lead with 21 points.
Archers in command
“We want to end our season on a high note; we want to win our last game,” says DLSU Head Coach Cholo Villanueva when asked about how he feels about almost making it to the final four, being just a few games behind the fourth-running Katipunan-based squad.
And that they did. The Archers, aiming to keep their drive in the tournament, propelled their team to a 25-17 drive at the end of the first quarter.
They started off strong, asserting dominance in the first half of the ball game. The Blue Eagles struggled to keep up with the Lady Archers’ attacks, as the starting quarter ended with an eight-point lead by DLSU, 25-17. It was also during this quarter when Sario and Betina Dinaohan shot three-pointers, earning important digits for their team.
The Blue Team put up a good fight, attempting to narrow down the growing lead against their opponents, however, the Lady Archers denied their dominance to be taken away.
With determination instilled by Coach Villanueva, the Taft-based team did not falter against the Eagles, going into halftime with a four-point lead against Ateneo, 40-36. Notably, Betina Binaohan and Trisha Mendoza earned their team baskets throughout the opening quarter, while Luisa San Juan turned the scoreboards from behind the arc in the latter part of the early half.
Diamonds in the rough
Both teams struggled to find a groove to open the second half, though, as miscommunication was the cause of missed shots, turnovers, and bad passes. It was even a lucky bounce from a near turnover that gave Paraiso an open layup to stop the scoring drought at the 7:55 mark, 42-36. As untimely lapses continued to ensue, Ateneo’s Jhazmin Joson would break her team’s drubbing with a floater halfway into the third period, 42-38.
DLSU would get a lift, however, as Mendoza and Bea Dalisay got creative with a fastbreak pull-up jumper and an up-and-under lay-in to give La Salle an eight-point lead momentarily, 46-38. The Katipunan-based squad then found refuge in the form of a Calago and-one three-pointer that gave them four points for one possession, 46-42.
As Calago continued to heat up with another three and a five-footer, Binaohan served as a spark for the Green and White as she single-handedly brought them back to the scoring column with timely baskets. Succeedingly, her makes from the charity stripe closed the third quarter for La Salle with a seven-point edge, 54-48.
The Lady Archers were rattled to start the layover period as they would get their lead cut to three, 54-51, after an Ateneo three-pointer and subsequent DLSU shot clock violation. Calago would be the one to put the game at a deadlock after she converts her freebie after an and-1 lay-in, 54-all.
Looking to exact revenge on their archrivals after closing the door on their Final Four hopes, the Green and White unleashed an offensive barrage that started with Paraiso’s three from the elbow at the 7:15 mark, 57-54. San Juan would follow it up with her own three from the top of the key, 60-54. As the gutsy Ateneo squad would find markers from Kacey Dela Rosa and Sarah Makanjoula, a Paraiso spin move layup and a Dalisay 20-footer put them up by six, 65-59, with less than two minutes remaining as Ateneo was forced to call a timeout.
Unfortunately for the Blue and White, they would only score two points with time quickly expiring as even with their stifling defense, they could not get ahead of DLSU. Binaohan would put the finishing touches with her free throws on a spectacular effort from La Salle to get the win over the Blue Eagles, 67-61.
Coach Villanueva shared his sentiments regarding the teams’ second-round success after a lackluster first round. “We learn a lot of things from basketball. Handling emotions, working under pressure, overcoming adversity—we accepted our mistakes and now, we’re in a good rhythm,” expressed the tenured coach as he looks forward to the team’s rebuilding phase.
“If that’s the process, we’ll take it,” top-scorer Sario commented when asked about how resolving conflicts within the team affected their improvements in the second round. The Lady Archers notably raised their slate to 6-7 despite being at a lowly 2-5 standing at the end of Round One.
With one game left in Season 86, the DLSU Lady Archers aim to close the tournament strong against the UE Red Warriors on Sunday, November 19, at 11 am at the same venue.
DLSU 67 – Sario 15, Paraiso 15, Binaohan 11, San Juan 11, Mendoza 10, Dalisay 5, Dela Paz 0, Sunga 0, Delos Reyes 0
ADMU 61 – Dela Rosa 22, Calago 21, Makanjoula 12, Joson 6, Villacruz 0, Gastador 0, Eufemiano 0, Cancio 0, Angala 0, Solis 0, Mataga 0, Nieves 0
Quarter Scores: 25-17, 40-36, 54-48, 67-61