By John Remil Isaga
In what was no less than a tooth-and-nail contest, the UP Lady Maroons fell to the UST Tigresses, 80-73, at the Araneta Coliseum, Saturday, 8 AM.
For the first two quarters, the Lady Maroons pummelled the Tigresses in the post as they jumped to a 42-35 lead at the half.
However, UST’s Shanda Anies provided the spark the Tigresses needed, scoring 11 points within the game’s first four minutes.
The early scoring explosion for UP was led by the twin towers of Christine Aliermo and Lourdes Ordoveza, while point guard Daphne Esplana and team captain Maria Wong facilitated the offense. They were responsible for a 13-4 run in the second quarter and held UST scoreless for over five minutes.
UST brushed off the first-half beating and came back roaring with more perimeter shots, forcing UP to burn timeout after timeout as the lead slowly vanished. Esplana, however, reigned in the Tigresses as she sank nine straight points off three three-pointers.
Both teams amped up the intensity in the final period as they started to trade leads off buckets and defensive stops. Six out of the game’s 11 lead changes were recorded in the fourth quarter alone. Frustration steamed from both benches as neither team was able to take control.
However, fatigue caught up with the Diliman-based ballers as they repeatedly gave away possessions and failed to convert crucial free-throws.
Anies did them no favors as she sank threes whenever UP got back within striking distance of España’s pride.
In the end, UST broke free and got their largest lead of the game as they sank free-throws off intentional fouls.
Ordoveza led the balanced effort with 17 points while Esplana chipped in 16. Aliermo and Wong both recorded double-doubles. However, Wong also had nine turnovers.
Jeanine Bautista was the lone Maroon who scored off the bench, tallying only five points off a woeful 2/12 shooting. On the other end, UST got 34 points from their reserves.
Anies fired off 23 points for the Tigresses with a staggering 7/13 clip from three-point range.
This loss would mark UP’s fourth straight to open Season 79. Their opponent for next Wednesday, Sept. 21, will be the Ateneo Lady Eagles at the Mall of Asia Arena.#