THE TOP seed Faculty of Arts and Letters Women’s Basketball Team (AB) overcame the pesky defense of the Faculty of Engineering Women’s Basketball Team (Engineering) to book a semifinal spot in this year’s Thomasian Goodwill Games.
AB is on a four-game winning streak wherein they edged out all their opponents by 10 points or more.
Not dropping a single match, AB averaged 71.75 points per game while allowing only an average of 39.75 points for the teams they faced. This time it was 58-48 against the Engineering squad.
With star player Alaina Dimdam getting into an early foul trouble, AB managed to close the first half with a nine-point advantage over Engineering, 33-24.
The two teams started sloppy in the third quarter but it was AB who found the rhythm first as Jonne Senga opened the scoring with a free throw basket, a layup, and a fastbreak finish to give AB a 38-26 lead.
Nikki Lehnert denied Camille Malabanan’s layups to keep the Engineering at bay and the lead on the side of AB.
AB and Engineering went cold for a lengthy stretch in the third quarter until Lehnert was fouled while posting up and attempting a hook shot. Lehnert sank her two charities to extend AB’s lead to 13.
Engineering’s defense in the third frame tightened, denying any momentum for AB.
Meanwhile, the isolation offense of Engineering paid off as Malabanan slipped through Lehnert’s defense with a spinning lay-up, but AB was quick to regain the points as Lara Quicho nailed a jumper from the beyond the arc.
Engineering started the final frame blazing as Pia Peralta buried a corner three-point shot and knocked down two consecutive jumpers from the wing, cutting AB’s lead to single digits, 49-41.
As the Engineering squad started cutting AB’s lead, Dimdam returned to the game carrying four fouls, but only to found herself picking up her fifth in first minute of the fourth quarter.
Halfway to the final quarter, AB was relentless in attacking the basket and setting up fastbreaks. Lehnert and Quicho found scoring opportunities inside the paint, pushing AB back to a 13-point lead.
Peralta penetrated the defense of AB as she tried to carry her team in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter. She capped her offensive stint with a reverse layup over the outstretched arm of Lehnert.
But the clock was on the side of AB.
With less than 40 seconds remaining, Lehnert grabbed an offensive rebound and scored a second chance lay-up, pushing AB to a comfortable 12-point-lead as the clock expired. F DONN CLARENZE D. GONZALES