UAAP: NU makes eighth straight finals; UST forces KO duel vs La Salle

Camille Clarin NU Lady Bulldogs UAAP

NU Lady Bulldogs’ Camille Clarin. UAAP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Camille Clarin went hot as she led National University to her eighth consecutive final after knocking out Ateneo, No. 4, 83-64, in the UAAP Season 85 Women’s Basketball Finals on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

In NU’s first Finals since 2013, Clarin passed a chance and led the collective effort with 19 points out of 5/11 from deep with three bounces, three assists and one steal , while Mikka Cacho scored 13 of them. 15 points in the first half to set the pace.

“I’m so glad we’re back. I think it’s a different story this year, but I think I like that,” Clarin said. “As we’ve heard, women’s basketball is getting so much better and the fact that we’re losing means people are taking the opportunity to push women’s basketball forward.”

The Lady Bulldogs, who are aiming for their seventh consecutive championship, will face the winner of another Quarter Finals pair of No 2 La Salle and third seed University of Santo Tomas.

UST, led by MVP leads Eka Soriano and Tacky Tacatac, was forced to play rubber for the final championship spot following a 68-57 direct win over La Salle. The knockout match is set for December 7 still at The Big Dome.

Soriano showed his all-round play with 23 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. Tacatac had 17 points, while Joylyn Pangilinan scored 11 points, including a treble that put Tigresses ahead, 16 points, 53-37, in the final five seconds of the third inning.

Eka Soriano UST Tigress UAAP

Erika Soriano of UST. UAAP PHOTO

“We passed in this knockout. It was a double for La Salle. Of course, we have to work harder as La Salle is about to return to the final leg to reach the Finals,” said UST coach Haydee Ong. “I told the girls, the job isn’t over until we beat La Salle twice to make it to the Finals.”

La Salle favors Charmine Torres, who has 16 points, 9 rebounds and 4 steals. Fina Niantcho Tchuido scored 10 points and 13 goals, while Lee Sario also scored 10 and won 12 rebounds.

Lady Bulldogs overcame the bravery of the Blue Eagles, led by rookie Kacey Dela Rosa with 22 points, 18 rebounds and 7 blocks.

NU coach Aris Dimaunahan said: “We played against a highly rated rookie at Kacey dela Rosa, who burned us again with 22 points and 18 rebounds. “She is a tough opponent because of her tenacity. I have to credit our women for putting in the work. They just keep fighting, they just stay together to get this victory.”

Ateneo came on after half-time, clearing a 13-point shortfall and dropping to six, 54-48, with 6:04 remaining in the third inning. But the defending champions restored order, burning in the fourth round to take a 21-point lead, 71-50, 6:54 left.

Annick Edimo Tiky also contributed heavily with 10 points and 6 rebounds, while Gypsy Canuto scored 8 points and 10 assists.

“I want to congratulate the entire Ateneo community, their coaching staff and their entire basketball team for doing so well this season. They made it to Final 4,” said Dimaunahan. “But again, we went into this game with the mindset of doing the right thing from start to finish. I think we had a hard time.

Jhazmin Joson also shone for Ateneo with 13 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.


First match:

NU 83 – Clarin 19, Cacho 15, Edimo Tiky 10, Canuto 8, Cayabyab 8, Pingol 7, Bartolo 7, Fabruada 6, Betanio 3, Surada 0.

Ateneo 64 – Dela Rosa 22, Joson 13, Calago 10, Makanjuola 7, Villacruz 6, Miranda 2, Eufemiano 2, Angala 2, Nieves 0, Fetalvero 0, Perez 0.

Rounds: 27-20, 52-39, 62-50, 83-64.

Second game:

UST 68 – Soriano 23, Tacatac 17, Pangilinan 11, Dionisio 7, Santos 3, Villasin 3, Serrano 3, Bron 1, Ambos 0, Araza 0.

La Salle 57 – Torres 16, Niantcho Tchuido 10, Sario 10, Binaohan 7, De La Paz 4, Arciga 4, Jimenez 2, Ahmed 2, Dalisay 2, Espinas 0.

Rounds: 14-12, 38-23, 53-37, 68-57.


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