Tigresses forced into win-or-go-home bout after OT loss against Maroons

Photo by Kristine Joy Diane Sarmiento/THE FLAME
Kent Jane Pastrana. Photo by Kristine Joy Diane Sarmiento/THE FLAME

THE UP Fighting Maroons edged the twice-to-beat UST Growling Tigresses on Wednesday, 88-80, forcing a do-or-die match in the semifinals round of the UAAP Season 86 women’s basketball tournament.

The Fighting Maroons outscored the Tigresses in an overtime haul with an eight-point advantage, 16-8, at the Mall of Asia Arena, allowing them to remain in contention.

The España-based squad blew a big lead during the crucial match and was disarmed of its advantage against the pesky Diliman cagers.

It was a neck-and-neck match at the opening salvo as both teams traded baskets. But Tigress guard Kent Pastrana roared back to give UST a one-point lead, 22-21.

UST sustained its huge lead in the second quarter, but UP retaliated with a 13-2 run to cut the lead to seven, 45-38, to end the first half.

During the start of the second half, the Tigresses lost their momentum as Fighting Maroons captain Marian Domingo picked up her team’s tempo, throwing seven points to capitalize their lead by five points, 59-54.

The game came down to the wire in the fourth quarter, with Pastrana and Nikki Villasin scoring back-to-back three-pointers for UST. This allowed the Tigresses to reclaim their advantage, 62-59.

With over a minute left in the last frame, UP center Favour Onoh dropped a free-throw point for a deadlock at 72-all. Pastrana tried to win it in the final buzzer with a stepback triple but she missed with 4.4 seconds left in the decider.

As the game went into overtime, UST’s Tantoy Ferrer dropped a three-pointer shot to start the match, but UP’s guards answered with a 9-3 blitz capped by Louna Ozar’s layup and Kaye Pesquera’s freebies to pull away, 81-75.

Pastrana steered the Tigresses with a career-high 29 points, 11 rebounds and four assists. Tacky Tacatac, who missed the elimination round game against Ateneo due to flu, contributed 12 markers, four boards and five assists.

Ozar led UP with 25 points, three rebounds, and three assists. Pesquera and Onoh chipped in 19 and 14, respectively.

Both teams will seek to secure their finals spot in a rubber match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Saturday, Nov. 25. F – Ayanna Dezyrein Zoleta

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