by Anton Onato
The University of the Philippines snapped a two-game losing skid with a 56-46 disposal of cellar-dwelling Ateneo de Manila University in the UAAP Season 76 Women’s Basketball Tournament Sunday at San Juan Arena.
Guards Karen Salapong and Sheerose Luna combined with forward Antonia Wong to lead a balanced offense, each finishing in double figures to finally claim win number two. UP improved to 2-4 and tied at fifth with University of the East and Adamson University, while Ateneo remained winless at 0-6.
Trailing 6-3 after two outside shots from ADMU’s Kat Nuñez, Guard Bea Daez connected consecutive bank shots sparking a 10-3 Maroon run en route to a 16-6 spread. UP never looked back from then on.
Pulling away at 31-20 entering the third quarter, the Lady Eagles held the Maroons scoreless in the early going as they leaned on the hot hands of Nuñez to cut the deficit down to four, 33-29.
The Maroons however closed out the third frame with a 6-2 blitz behind Bernice Furagganan and Wong’s combined effort, 39-31, to maintain some breathing space.
With just two minutes left to play in the final period, Luna swished a triple off a steal as UP posted a 52-39 bulge.
The Lady Eagles inched closer on another Nuñez trey, 52-42, but Wong knocked down four pressure-packed charities down the stretch to keep the Lady Eagles at bay for good.
Salapong paced the Maroons with 14 points, 10 rebounds and a block. Wong and Luna added 12 apiece. Nuñez, who was the lone Lady Eagle scoring in double digits, lead all scorers with 15 points.
The Lady Maroons will face the University of the East Lady Warriors on Sunday for their last assignment in the first round.
UP – Salapong 14, Wong 12, Luna 12, Daez 8, Furagganan 4, Topacio 2, Tatel 2, Pioquinto 2
AdMU – Nuñez 15, Jose 9, Uy De Ong 6, Deacon 4, Veloso 2, Posadas 2, Limcaoco 2, Buendia 2, Bo-ot 2, Belarmino 2
Quarter Scores: 18-8, 31-20, 39-31, 56-46