MANILA – The University of Santo Tomas (UST) outclassed Far Eastern University (FEU), 106-85, to stay in the hunt for the twice-to-beat incentive in the UAAP Season 86 women's basketball tournament at the SMART Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.
It was the 10th win in 13 outings for the Growling Tigresses, who grabbed solo second behind the National University Lady Bulldogs (11-1). The University of the Philippines (UP), which has a 9-3 record, was scheduled to face the University of the East later in the day.
UST can either clinch or force a playoff for the second playoff incentive against Ateneo de Manila University when they meet at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
“We need to win one more game versus Ateneo,” UST head coach Haydee Ong said after the game.
“It’s very crucial for all the teams in the Final Four, which are vying for a twice-to-beat advantage because UP, Ateneo, and UST have a very big chance of having the twice-to-beat advantage so we wanted to prepare for Ateneo for Saturday and hopefully, we’ll get the twice-to-beat advantage.”
UST managed to beat FEU despite the season-high performance of Congolese Josee Kaputu, who had 37 points and 15 rebounds.
The previous season-high was 32 points coming from Ateneo guard Jhazmin Joson during the game against Adamson University on Nov. 8.
“Kaputu is one of the best foreign student-athletes in the league. I told them, we cannot let Kaputu shoot from inside and other players shoot from the three points. Kailangan lang mamili kami whether inside or outside 'yung dedepensahan namin. I think nung third quarter, 'yun 'yung nangyari and we adjusted nung last quarter (Kaputu is one of the best foreign student-athletes in the league. I told them, we cannot let Kaputu shoot from inside and other players shoot from the three points. We just had to choose whether we would defend inside or outside. I think that happened in the third quarter and we adjusted in the last quarter),” Ong said.
Brigette Santos had 20 points, seven assists, six steals, and four rebounds for UST, which posted its biggest lead at 65-43, with 7:19 left in the third quarter.
Reynalyn Ferrer and Angelina Villasin chipped in 15 points each while Agatha Bron, Jane Pastrana, and Ana Tacatac added 13, 11, and 10 points, respectively.
Julie Manguiat scored 16 points and Jaina del Prado contributed 15 points for the Lady Tamaraws, who moved to within 82-73, with seven minutes left to play.
But UST fought back behind Santos, Ferrer, and Villasin to pull away at 96-76, time down to 2:45.
FEU, with a 3-10 card, will face Adamson University at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday. (PNA)