MANILA, Philippines – University of the Philippines remained undefeated in four matches after outlasting tough Far Eastern University, 64-61, to maintain the solo UAAP Season 86 women’s basketball lead at Adamson University Gym on Wednesday.
Louna Ozar rode off the back of their big win over defending champion National University last Sunday, leading the Fighting Maroons with 15 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals for an unscathed 4-0 record with an average winning margin of 13.75 points. .
“It’s expected of (Ozar),” UP coach Paul Ramos said. “I constantly remind her to just be in the moment and enjoy the experience and get better with her teammates.”
Besides Ozar, who campaigned with the Gilas Pilipinas Women at the Asian Games, UP leaned on Christie Bariquit, Favor Onoh and Kaye Pesquera.
SCHEDULE: UAAP Season 86 Basketball First Round
Bariquit contributed eleven points and seven rebounds. Pesquera contributed 10 points, four rebounds and three assists, while Onoh had six points and 13 rebounds for the Fighting Maroons.
UP squandered a 64-50 lead after the Lady Tamaraws unleashed an 11-0 run to cut the lead to just three with 1:41 remaining, but it was able to make the crucial defensive stops to remain undefeated to stay.
“I think the FEU has prepared very well,” Ramos said. “We were late with our adjustments and that is my coaching mistake. I’m glad we were able to work together to resolve some of their implementations in the final part of the game.”
Josee Kaputu led FEU with 19 points, 17 rebounds and three steals. Shane Salvani had eight points, six rebounds and five assists, while Jamerin Delos Santos also scored eight and had just 12 rebounds, dropping their team to a 2-2 record.
NU bounces back against UST
Meanwhile, NU vented its anger on the University of Santo Tomas and rebounded with a 76-64 win, putting the victim and Ateneo at identical 3-1 records.
Following the Lady Bulldogs’ first loss in 12 years, Karl Pingol led the seven-time defending champions’ balanced attack with 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals to hand UST’s first loss in four games.
Joinaba Konateh scored twelve points and nine rebounds. Angel Surada contributed 11 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, while Camille Clarin added 10 points, four rebounds and four steals.
“We just told the girls to just learn from the UP game and move on and focus our attention on UST,” NU coach Aris Dimaunahan said. “I thought we did an excellent job in terms of preparation and the commitment of the players to execute the game plan to the letter. Proud of these girls for coming back after a loss.”
Kent Pastrana led the Growling Tigresses with 18 points. Tantoy Ferrer had 17 points and six rebounds, while Tacky Tacatac had just 15 points and four assists to absorb their first loss of the season.
Last season’s Rookie of the Year, Kacey Dela Rosa, scored 23 points, 18 rebounds, five steals and five blocks to lead Ateneo to its third straight victory after a winless 72-62 win over University of the East.
Junize Calago also had a double-double for the Blue Eagles with 13 points, 14 rebounds and five assists. Sandra Villacruz had 13 points, while Sarah Makanjuola added 10 points and six rebounds.
In the other game, La Salle finally ended its three-game skid when Lee Sario dropped 20 points to draw winless Adamson 63-55 and improved to a 1-3 map.
Bernice Paraiso also played a key role with 11 points and four rebounds, while Betts Binaohan contributed 10 points, five rebounds and three steals as last season’s runner-up stormed into the win column and held the Lady Falcons scoreless in four games.