Emotions ran high after the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Lady Maroons notched their biggest win in the last three years as they finally snapped their 38-game losing skid against the University of the East (UE) Lady Warriors, 55-52, in the second round of the UAAP Season 82 Women’s Basketball Tournament today at MOA Arena.
With the game tied at 52 in the fourth quarter, a halfcourt buzzer beater shot from team captain Pesky Pesquera sent the Lady Maroons to their first victory in three seasons.
“Sobrang saya, understatement yun, sobrang saya. It’s about time. Chineck ko yung time, three seconds left, sabi ko kaya pa naman. I knew kaya ko ibato yung bola. I hoped for the best but until now, hindi ako makapaniwala na nashoot yun,” she shared.
Pesquera topped UP in victory with 13 points and nine rebounds – all in the second half – while Rei Sanchez, Jona Lebico and Stiff Larrosa combined for 27 points and 20 rebounds.
All game-long, UP was trailing as they failed to properly execute their defensive strategies resulting to 20 turnovers in halftime.
The Lady Maroons came within striking distance come second half after a 17-10 run to end the third frame, 42-44.
State U came alive in the fourth canto with an inspired energy from the Maroons as they limited the Lady Warriors to only eight baskets while riding the shoulders of Pesquera’s game-winning shot to end the regulation, 55-52.
Breaking the losing streak
The Lady Maroons’ last victory was still in season 79 against the Far Eastern University courtesy of Pesquera’s late three-point dagger. However, State U closed that season at 2-12, and remained winless until today.
Pesquera recalled the frustrations looming the team, where she experienced the struggle of being winless all season long.
“I keep on thinking about the struggles along the way tsaka yung journey. Mas meaningful ‘to sakin kasi hindi lang naman para dito sa grupo namin pati yung mga previous teammates ko, para sa amin to lahat kasi ito yung common struggle namin lahat na manalo,” she said.
Head Coach Paul Ramos was also on cloud nine as he finally won his first game this season and broke the ‘curse’ haunting the Lady Maroons.
“The players and the team needs to feel this winning experience again because it’s so hard for them to overcome the fears, the doubts every time they lose. That is my hope na matanggal na yung mga barrier sa ulo namin, doubts namin na we can win, we deserve to win and we are capable of winning,” he shared.
This win, according to Ramos, is dedicated to the communities that have been continuously supporting the team in triumphs and defeats.
“Pat, together with all the community that have supported us and even the previous coaches, previous players, they deserve this win. The [UP] community deserves this win,” Ramos said.
The Lady Maroons hope that this win will be their first of many, as they face the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses on October 16 at QPAV, UST.
QUARTER SCORES: 12-19, 25-34, 42-44, 55-52.