THE UST Growling Tigresses end the 20-game winning streak of the seven-time defending champion NU Lady Bulldogs, 76-72, taking a 1-0 lead in the UAAP season 86 women’s basketball finals on Wednesday, Nov. 29.
It was the comeback win of UST over NU after 11 years since season 75 on August 31, 2012.
In the first minutes of action, Lady Bulldogs center Jainaba Konateh quickly scored two field goals in the paint, 4-0. But Growling Tigresses Tantoy Ferrer, Kent Pastrana, Brigette Santos and Rozie Amatong roared back to grab an early lead, 10-4.
The Lady Bulldogs could not contain the Growling Tigresses’ offense as Pastrana drained a buzzer-beating step-back three from downtown to wrap up the first salvo, 20-12.
During the second frame, NU tried to cut the advantage by trading buckets with under a minute left in the second, 33-31. However, UST’s Nikki Villasin drilled one from long range to conclude the first half with a five-point advantage, 36-31.
As the second half commenced, both teams exhibited a back-and-forth offensive showdown. NU outscored UST in the third frame, cutting the lead to three points. Still, the Growling Tigresses maintained a three-point advantage, 54-51.
It was a neck-and-neck match in the last frame as NU closed in on UST, but the Growling Tigresses reclaimed the momentum courtesy of Villasin and Rocel Dionisio’s buckets, 66-60.
The España-based squad unleashed an offensive prowess to pull away in Game 1, with Santos sealing the match as she converted a free throw after being fouled, 76-72.
Five Tigresses scored in double figures. Pastrana anchored UST with a team-high 15 points, six rebounds and four steals, while Ferrer, the player of the game, added a double-double of 13 markers and a game-high 14 off the glass.
Tacky Tacatac, Santos and Villasin chalked up 14, 12 and 10 points, respectively.
NU’s Camille Clarin led all scorers, notching an 18-ball, five boards and six dimes, while Karl Pingol performed a double-double of 11 points and ten off the glass.
UST will aim to sweep NU and bag its first championship in 17 years at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Dec. 3. F – Nolan Adrian Villamor Jr.