MANILA – University of Santo Tomas hung tough in the fourth quarter to outlast University of the Philippines, 87-83, in their rubber match for the second finals berth of the UAAP Season 86 women's basketball tournament at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Saturday.
Kent Pastrana scored 18 points for the Growling Tigresses, who will meet the National University Lady Bulldogs in the best-of-three title series starting Nov. 29 at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
NU, eyeing its eighth straight title, finished the elimination round with a 13-1 win-loss record.
"Sobrang grateful kasi binigay sa amin itong opportunity na ito na lumaban sa finals against NU. Gagawin pa rin namin ang best namin hanggang makuha namin ‘yung panalo (We are very grateful because we are given this opportunity to compete in the finals against NU. We will still do our best until we get the win)," said Pastrana, who also had five rebounds.
Pastrana joined hands with Angelika Soriano and Rocel Dionisio to give UST a 74-66 third-quarter lead after UP moved to within 63-67 behind Favour Onoh, Kaye Pesquera and Achrissa Maw.
The Lady Maroons fought hard in the fourth quarter where they managed to trim a 77-86 deficit to 83-86, 15 seconds remaining.
"I would just like to commend my team who really worked hard for this finals appearance. It's a team effort, all worked hard from the start to the finish. I will not take away from the UP Fighting Maroons for giving us a good fight," UST coach Haydee Ong, who also led the team to the Season 82 final, said after the match.
"It's very important because we know that UP is a resilient team. They will always come back. I told the ladies that we have to protect the lead and we did up to the last quarter," Ong added.
Brigette Santos contributed 14 points, including 10 in first quarter. She also had five steals and four rebounds.
Angelina Villasin chipped in 12 points and four rebounds; Reynalyn Ferrer made 11 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and one block; and Ana Tacatac also had 11 points, three rebounds and two assists.
UP, which pulled off an 88-80 overtime win in Game 1 on Wednesday to force the rubber match, had five players scoring in double figures.
Onoh delivered 21 points, 14 rebounds, two assists and two steals; while Pesquera had 20 points, followed by Maw (15), Louna Ozar (13) and Christine Bariquit (11). (PNA)