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Streak-buster: La Salle ends NU 108-game winning run

National University has been stripped of its invincibility by the same team that dealt its last taste of defeat almost a decade ago.

De La Salle University waited a long time for the sweet scent of victory over the Lady Bulldogs that have been lording over the University Athletic Association of the Philippines women’s basketball tournament since 2014.

The Lady Archers displayed great heart and tremendous grit to overcome the reigning six-time champion, 61-57, in overtime in their Season 85 second round meeting to end the Lady Bulldogs’ league-record 108-game winning streak on Wednesday at the University of Santo Tomas Quadricentennial Pavillion in Espana, Manila.

For six seasons NU went undefeated. On the return of women’s basketball after a two-game hiatus due to the pandemic, the Lady Bulldogs won 12 straight.

La Salle denied them a 13th in a row with its 11th win in 13 outings that also forced a Final Four.

The eight-woman Lady Archers played the perfect game in the historic win to make a repeat of the last time the Lady Bulldogs dropped a match nine years ago.

La Salle defeated NU in Game 3 of the Season 76 Finals, 69-61, on 5 October 2013.

“Finally, a great performance from my players,” Lady Archers head coach Cholo Villanueva, who took over from Tyrone Bautista in 2015, said.

“You need the perfect players, the perfect rotation to beat a perfect team. Of course, this wasn’t just eight players, they are 16 players — even 18 players in practices — that’s why these eight players did their job. Because these 18-strong players were doing their jobs in preparation for this game. So, it was a team effort,” he continued.

Meanwhile, UST beat University of the Philippines, 85-52, for a 10-3 card at the third spot.

UP fell to a 5-8 mark.

La Salle almost had the game in the bag in regulation, holding a 49-46 lead with 10.5 seconds left after a split on the stripe by Lee Sario.

Mikka Cacho forced the extra five minutes with a booming triple as time expired.

But in overtime, La Salle was not to be denied.

Sario drained a trey followed by two free throws from spunky guard Charmine Torres that gave La Salle a 57-52 edge with 1:23 left.

Camille Clarin responded with a three-pointer but Betina Binaohan got two back on the other end.

An ill-advised trey by Annick Edimo Tiky led to two free throws for Sario that put La Salle up, 61-55, with 43.4 seconds remaining.

Though Edimo Tiky was able to make it up with 23.2 seconds left by cleaning up a Cacho miss, La Salle showed that it wanted it more.

“My girls just wanted it more. I give them the credits today. They were the ones making the right decisions on defense. They were the ones making the right decisions on offense. They just don’t want to let go of that ball in their hands every time in every possession. Every time they shoot their shot, they shoot it with confidence. So, credit goes to my girls for playing one heck of a game,” Villanueva said.

NU remains at the top of the standings with a 12-1 mark and will have to go through the Final Four for the first time since 2014. The Lady Bulldogs will have a twice-to-beat advantage in the semis.

Niantcho Tchuido notched a double-double for La Salle with 14 points and 19 rebounds while Torres tallied 13 points, six rebounds, five assists, and two steals. Sario and Biohan got 10 markers each.

“Credit to Coach Cholo, they really wanted the win. We had the snatch to win in overtime but we were not able to take advantage of it,” NU head coach Aris Dimaunahan said.

“It’s just sad today that… streaks are really bound to be broken and today it happened. The real challenge is how we can bounce back after this loss, how we can turn the tide after being beaten. We’ll see that tomorrow,” he added.

Cacho led NU with 12 points and 15 rebounds while Angel Surada chipped in 11 points and nine rebounds.

La Salle was able to limit rookie Tin Cayabyab to seven points on 3-of-12 shooting, Camille Clarin also had seven points on a terrible 2-of-11 shooting while Ann Pingol had six markers.


The Scores:

First Game

UST (85) – Tacatac 24, Soriano 13, Dionisio 11, Villasin 11, Santos 7, Serrano 6, Araza 5, Bron 3, Pangilinan 3, Ambos 2, Villapando 0>

UP (52) – Pesquera 12, Bariquit 11, Maw 11, Tapawan 6, Vingno 5, Sanchez 3, Larrosa 2, Lebico 2, Domingo 0, Gonzales 0, Sauz 0, Lara 0, Rivera 0.

Quarters: 22-13, 49-25, 67-39, 85-52.


Second Game

DLSU (61) – Niantcho Tchuido 14, Torres 13, Sario 10, Binaohan 10, De La Paz 7, Jimenez 5, Arciga 2, Ahmed 0.

NU (57) – Cacho 12, Surada 11, Cayabyab 7, Clarin 7, Edimo Tiky 6, Pingol 6, Canuto 3, Solis 3, Fabruada 2, Bartolo 0, Betanio 0.

Quarters: 14-12, 32-25, 32-36, 49-49, 61-57.

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