UAAP Women's Basketball: Lady Tamaraws back in the Finals after four years, eliminate UST
Danine Cruz on Nov 28, 2018 02:06 PM
"Hindi namin ine-expect na umabot kami ng Finals."
After four years, the Far Eastern University is back in the UAAP Women's Basketball Finals after overcoming the hungry University of Santo Tomas, 68-66, in a thrilling step-ladder semifinals match Wednesday afternoon at the Araneta Coliseum.
It was nip and tuck in the first three quarters but a Clare Castro triple with 1:50 left brought FEU ahead by five points, 47-42. It was the shot that turned the momentum around as the Tamaraws stretched the lead to 10 points.
However, UST did not let go without a fight. Courtesy of Season MVP Grace Irebu's three triples and Sai Larosa's fast breaks, the Tigresses chopped the lead down to one, 59-60, with four minutes left. It was a dogfight since then but in the end, FEU held on to their 68-66 lead as they the Tigresses' Jastine Capilit failed to convert a game-tying shot in the game's final play.
As the final buzzer sounded, the Tamaraws all jumped in glee as the Tigresses collapsed in despair. UST settled with another third place finish while FEU advanced to the Finals.
Castro carried the Lady Tamaraws with 32 points and 15 rebounds. She was heavily credited by FEU head coach Bert Flores for their fantastic run this Season 81.
"Hindi namin ine-expect na umabot kami ng Finals. Yung team kasi namin, anim ang nawala," shared Flores, "Pag wala si Clare, ang liliit namin, para kaming minions. Parang may rebounder kami, may [Junemar] Fajardo. Ang laking bagay ni Clare, pasalamat ako sa kanya."
He also mentioned how Castro's presence empowers other players to perform as well. Fatima Quiapo produced 12 points and six rebounds while Nina Antiola scored nine points, four rebounds, and four assists.UST's Irebu scored 28 points, 13 rebounds, and four assists. Tantoy Ferrer added 11 points and four rebounds while Sai Larosa had 10 points, eight rebounds, and five assists.
Castro credited her experience guarding Irebu in the semifinals as something she can use to sharpen her skills as she faces National University's Rhena Itesi and Jack Animam in the Finals.
"Siyempre si Irebu yung katapat ko na pwera pa sa NU eh, so yung mga post-ups ko kanina, parang ano rin siya na preparation na rin siya sa NU kasi kung sa ibang team seal ako ng seal, pasa lang sa akin. Eh yun malalaki so kailangan ko gawan ng paraan para makakuha ako ng bola," Castro shared.
The Lady Tamaraws will face the dynastic Lady Bulldogs for the best-of-three Finals series starting on December 1, Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
FEU 68 -- Castro 32, Quiapo 12, Antiola 9, Mamaril 7, Taguiam 5, Bahuyan 3, Vidal 0, Bastatas 0, Abat 0, Adriano 0, Payadon 0.
UST 66 -- Irebu 28, Ferrer 11, Larosa 10, Capilit 9, Portillo 5, Rivera 3, Aujero 0, Tacatac 0, Sangalang 0, Magat 0, Gonzales 0.
Quarters: 16-12, 31-30, 53-43, 68-66.