by John Edison Ubaldo
The University of the Philippines used a huge fourth quarter wind-up to put away the surging University of the East, 46-37, in the second round of the UAAP Season 76 Women’s Basketball Tournament Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Lady Maroons managed to survive a furious third quarter scare by the Lady Warriors who erased a double digit halftime deficit to post their fifth win of the season.
UP was ahead by 11 after two quarters when UE mounted a mighty fightback forcing a deadlock at 31 with little over a minute left in the third frame.
“I told the girls na babawi talaga sila pero medyo nagrelax kasi we’re leading by 11 points. Medyo nagkumpiyansa ang mga bata,” said UP Head Coach Ramon Garcia.
But the Katipunan-based squad kept their composure in the final frame as spitfire guard Bea Daez capped 10-2 spurt with a three-point play to push the lead back to 10, 43-33, midway in the pay-off period.
The Lady Maroons never looked back from then on.
Daez, who played a full 40-minute game, had an all-around performance for UP finishing with 15 points, eight rebounds, three assists and a steal. She was the lone double-digit scorer of the game.
Guard Katrinne Topacio supplemented with eight points, five rebounds, three dishes and one swipe while center Patrcia Tatel dominated the boards grabbing 13 rebounds to go with five points.
With the win, Garcia forecasted an 80 percent chance of booking a semis ticket as the win improved his squad’s win-loss card to 5-5.
“If we only beat Adamson, UST and pag nabeat natin ‘yung La Salle, medyo malakas chance natin,” Garcia said.
UP will next face powerhouse FEU on Wednesday, 10 am at the Araneta Coliseum.
UP 46 – Daez 15, Topacio 8, Wong 6, Tatel 5, Furagganan 4, Aurellado 4, Salapong 2, Luna 2, Isip 0, Aliermo 0.
UE 36 – Ventura 9, Domino 8, Valdez 5, Doqueza 5, Bale 5, Sto. Domingo 2, Mendina 2, Tacula 1, Ramos 0, Llosala 0, Ano-os 0.
Quarter scores: 14-12, 26-15, 33-31, 46-37.