Photo and text by Luisa Morales
The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Lady Maroons dropped their season opener against the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigresses, 58-85, today in the UAAP Season 80 women’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Diliman-based squad had to adjust after losing starting center and co-captain Therese Medina to an injury two days before the game.
UP played at pace with the Tigresses at the start of the game, trading baskets back and forth. They held a slim one-point lead, 7-6, by the middle of the period, the last time State U held the driver’s seat in the game.
UST managed to pull away before the end of the first, taking advantage of turnovers by UP. UST held an eight-point advantage by the end of the period, 20-12.
Taking momentum from their strong start, the España-based squad continued to drive to the basket to score. The Tigresses doubled up on UP, 28-14.
Despite efforts to cut the lead, turnovers continued to haunt the Diliman ballers as they struggled to get back in the game.
At the half, UST held a double digit lead, 44-33 courtesy of a buzzer beater two from Tigress Jem Angeles.
Determined to make a comeback, the Lady Maroons started strong at the third period. Tightening their defense and converting on their shots, UP made a 15-6 run to trim the lead to just a bucket, 48-50, after Carmela Bascon’s trey.
But UST was not about to let State U take the lead, scoring back-to-back threes to widen the gap once again. The UP rally erased by an 8-0 run to end the third for UST.
By the fourth period, the Lady Maroons ran out of steam as they converted only 10 points during the last quarter and eventually fell to the Tigresses, 58-85.
“I told the team na yan yung dating UP which we do not like anymore… what happened was we’re too happy about the lead na nakalimutan na namin na may trabaho pa,” UP Head Coach Kenneth Raval said about the third period, when UP was only down by two.
Only two Diliman ballers scored in double digits. Iriss Isip led State U with 22 markers followed by skipper Daphne Esplana with 12.
The Lady Maroons look to grab their first win for the season on Wednesday, September 13, against the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.