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Fighting Maroons remain perfect


‘I was confident because it was an open shot. I had confidence because of my teammates.’

LOUNA Ozar and the UP Fighting Maroons keep their perfect slate intact following a 65-61 victory over De La Salle University in the Season 86 UAAP women’s basketball tournament.(PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF UAAP)

University of the Philippines closed in on a first-round sweep after scraping past De La Salle University, 65-61, in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 86 women’s basketball tournament on Wednesday at Adamson University Gym.

Meanwhile, University of Santo Tomas posted a much-needed victory as it upended Ateneo de Manila University, 90-67, to return to the win column.

With their sixth straight win to start the season, the Fighting Maroons have achieved the school’s best start in the Final Four era, upstaging the Season 71 squad.

“We are happy that we won. The more that the season is coming to the close of the first round, the more we are learning and getting better. We are just glad that we are still winning,” said Fighting Maroons head coach Paul Ramos, who was the lead deputy of Eric Castro 15 years ago.

UP though needed to dig deep to get past a gritty La Salle squad.

The Lady Archers actually led, 50-49, entering the final frame.

Filipino-French rookie Louna Ozar rallied the Fighting Maroons all by her lonesome, scoring the opening bucket before forcing La Salle to back-to-back turnovers that led to four more points for a 56-50 lead.

Though La Salle was able to chop the lead down to 60-58 with 2:08 left, Christie Bariquit powered her way on the post for a bucket while Kaye Pesquera knocked down a dagger trey seconds later to seal solo lead for UP.

“I was confident because it was an open shot. I had confidence because of my teammates,” said Pesquera, a sophomore guard.

Ozar led the way for UP with 14 points, six assists, and four steals, while Marian Domingo also got 14 points to go with five rebounds, two steals, and two assists.

Bariquet and Rhea Sanchez chipped in nine apiece for UP, which now braces itself for a showdown with Ateneo de Manila University on Saturday.

Ann Mendoza led La Salle’s gallant stand with 15 points and six rebounds while Betina Binaohan and Luisa San Juan added 14 points each.

The Lady Archers, who fell to 1-5 for seventh, will close their first-round campaign against University of the East also on Saturday.


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