THE Institute of Physical Education and Athletics (IPEA) Women’s Basketball Team denied the Faculty of Arts and Letters (AB) Women’s Basketball Team of back-to-back finals appearance and handed the Dapitan-based squad its sole—but worst—loss in this year’s Thomasian Goodwill Games, 60-29, last April 22 at the P. Noval Court.
IPEA’s Juslyne Eunice Magat carried the team with 24 points during the semifinal rubber match. AB’s Alaina Dimdam, who tallied 14 points, suffered her lowest scoring output since last year’s elimination round.
Magat converted her early three-point shots, ushering IPEA to a huge scoring burst in the first quarter and pulling off a 17-to-nothing run.
Dimdam rallied AB’s offensive back on track with her scoring from the free throw line and a mid-range jumper to close the first period at 9-21, still in favor of IPEA.
Dimdam drained a trey in the start of the second quarter but the tandem of Magat and Vins Avelino delivered a five-to-nothing run against AB. Dimdam and Bea Patricia Diwa continued banking points for the team to keep the Dapitan-based squad within striking distance.
IPEA capitalized on AB’s turnovers and converted those into points, gaining a 12-point advantage before the halftime buzzer, 28-16.
IPEA’s frontcourt clogged the lanes and tightened the defense inside to force more turnovers from AB at the start of the second half.
Nicole Gutierrez sunk a deep three and was followed by her teammate Chi Villar’s lay-up, to open the scoring in the third quarter in favor of IPEA.
AB only scored a single field goal in the third quarter, courtesy of a chance lay-up from AB team captain Jonne Stephanie Senga, 18-33.
The defending champions continued to dominate and convert points from AB’s turnovers as Magat delivered another trey, pulling off a 10-0 run to close the quarter at 43-18.
Magat started things on the positive side for IPEA in the final period as she penetrated into the teeth of AB’s defense and buried another three-pointer, 50-23.
AB had short scoring spurts in the payoff period but was unable to bring the lead down to single digits. IPEA had been enjoying a double-digit lead since the first five minutes of the game.
With less than two minutes left in the game, Senga fired a trey in a last heave to cut into IPEA’s growing lead.
However, IPEA’s frontcourt delivered daggers. Gutierrez, Cat Pollentes, and Sarah Dequinan scored points inside the shaded area, pushing the lead to an insurmountable 31-point lead with few ticks remaining in the clock, 60-29.
AB had a share of bitter defeats against IPEA in the last two seasons of the Thomasian Goodwill Games. Last year, IPEA trounced AB in their tight finals duel, 59-52, during which Magat also dropped a 20-point performance.
Senga said the team had a hard time adjusting as most of the players in their roster were new addition in the team. They are also missing the services of key frontcourt players, alumni Nikki Lehnert and Lara Quicho.
“Malaki talaga ang advantage ng IPEA since may former Team B sila then athletes sila. So [sa] condition lamang sila, [at sa] skills lamang talaga sila. So mahirap talaga ‘yung ganon lalo na baguhan lahat, apat lang kami veterans sa team namin so hirap din mag-adjust talaga,” Senga said.
“Binigay naman ng AB ‘yung lahat tapos bawat isa talaga nag-contribute. Talagang short pa, so talagang [kailangan] mas mag-training para sa next season,” she added.
AB will face Commerce for the third place. The schedule of the game is yet to be announced. F VANN MARLO M. VILLEGAS