Lady Archers oust Lady Warriors to clinch Finals berth
Published on November 30th, 2016 | by Khyte Mendoza
A team that suffered from back-to-back losses in the Final Four even with a twice-to-beat advantage for the past two seasons. This time around, they eluded the same fate and finally clawed their way back to redemption.
The De La Salle University Lady Archers booked a ticket to the finals after knocking out the University of the East Lady Warriors in dominating fashion, 72-50, in the Final Four of the UAAP Season 79 Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Wednesday.
“We got over the psychological hump of the Final Four, having the twice-to-beat advantage for the past two years,” head coach Cholo Villanueva said.
Khate Castillo caught fire in the game as she paced La Salle with 23 points, 15 from deep, and six rebounds against three turnovers. Camille Claro added 13 markers, while Bennette Revillosa and Chay Vergara chipped in 10 apiece.
La Salle’s bench outscored UE’s, 27-3, while also taking advantage of points off turnovers and perimeter points, 27-6 and 32-12, respectively.
UE was aggressive on both ends of the floor to start the game. They defended DLSU with a zone that switched to a man-to-man defense once the Green side swung the ball on the wings to confuse the offensive attack of the Lady Archers. However, the Taft-based squad was able to keep themselves within striking distance, only falling behind by one, 15-16, after the first period.
The Lady Archers turned the tides in the second canto as they countered with their suffocating full-court pressure defense that put the Lady Warriors in a scoring drought, 15-2. The Green and White continued to display their constant ball and player movements that brought them ahead, 30-18, at halftime.
It was a walk in the park for Coach Villanueva’s crew in the third quarter, stepping on the gas pedal capped off by a Claro free throw that pushed the lead to as high as 24, 46-22, with 3:34 left.
The Lady Warriors tried to fight back as Ruthlaine Tacula sank three charities to trim the lead down to 16, 52-36, early in the fourth frame. However, Castillo shrugged off the UE run with a booming trey to bring the edge back to 21, 63-42, to put the icing on the cake for DLSU.
No other player scored in double figures for the ladies in red aside from Love Sto. Domingo, who led UE with a double-double output, scoring 22 points and grabbing 10 boards.
La Salle will face the National University Lady Bulldogs that sealed an outright finals seat after sweeping the elimination rounds. This will also be the first finals stint for the Lady Archers under the tutelage of their sophomore head coach.
“They have the advantage, but for us again, it’s everything to learn from us [and] everything to gain,” coach Villanueva said, “but we want to gain experience winning.” he added.