THE UST Growling Tigresses saw their six-game winning streak end in a 66-62 loss to the University of the East Lady Warriors in the UAAP Season 80 women’s basketball tournament at the Arena in San Juan last Oct. 22.
The Tigresses, who dropped to an 8-2 win-loss record, stormed back with a 16-6 run with 20.5 ticks left in the game.
UE turned the ball over in the ensuing play but UST team captain Jhenn Angeles missed two three-point attempts.
“The bad thing about it is ang laki ng lamang na kailangan namin habulin and time was not on our side, so kinulang kami,” UST coach Haydee Ong said.
UST trailed by 13 points midway in the fourth before things got heated at the 5:10 mark, when Lady Warrior Ruthlaine Tacula committed an unsportsmanlike foul on Tigress Sai Larosa.
The scrappy play continued as Tigress Bets Peñaflor was ejected with 3:07 left in the fourth. UE’s Love Sto. Domingo was also called for an unsportsmanlike foul.
Tacula led UE with 16 points while Sto. Domingo and Joyce Francisco poured in 13 markers apiece.
Anjel Anies paced UST with 18 points while Angeles added 13 points on a 4-of-20 shooting clip.
The Lady Warriors used their height advantage to outrebound the Tigresses, 51-35.
After the first round
Angeles led the league in scoring after the first round with 17 points per game (ppg), including a season-high 24 points against the University of the Philippines on opening day last Sept. 10.
“Jhenn is playing in her last year. She’s very seasoned now and she’s more mature. She knows when to take care of the ball, when to take the shots and when to take control, so I guess she’s my ace,” Ong said in a previous interview.
Anies, who has been the first mate to the captain, averaged 12 ppg behind Angeles.
The Larosa-Peñaflor tandem has also been UST’s patron under the paint, with the duo combining for 18.4 rebounds per game.
Despite a relatively smaller lineup, UST ranked second in rebounding with 44.4 rebounds per game (rpg) behind number one seed and undefeated National University Lady Bulldogs’ 56.9 rpg.
UST has been taking care of the ball well, and produced the least turnovers in the league with 23.3 per game (tpg). Adamson University turned the ball over the most with 27.4 tpg.
“Actually, `yung five wins namin sa first round, that was our win total last year. I think now they know na malaki talaga `yung in-improve ng UST this season,” Ong said.
Confident with the Tigresses’ overall improvement, Ong said a Final Four appearance was apparent as long as they continued winning and secured the second seed.
“Of course, we have to win pa rin sa mga maliliit na games. [As for the] Final Four, `yung paa namin medyo nandoon na. I’m happy because `yun muna talaga ang target namin this season,” the former national team coach told the Varsitarian in an interview.
Angeles said losses in the previous years were a reminder for the team to step up the game this season.
“Sobrang laki ng improvement ng team especially sa individual [performances]. Bawat isa sa amin ‘pag dating sa court ay nagkaka-isa at ginagawa namin `yung pinapagawa ng coaches which is to follow the system and play as a team,” the team captain said.
In the past two seasons, the Growling Tigresses fell short of the Final Four after succumbing in their stepladder playoff games.