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Defense keys La Salle triumph

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF UAAP TRISHA Mendoza drops an all-around performance to lead De La Salle University to a 71-61 win over Adamson University in the UAAP Season 86 women’s basketball tournament.

De La Salle University scored a pivotal 71-61 victory over Adamson University to stay in the thick of things in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 86 women’s basketball tournament on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Notching their first winning streak of the season, the Lady Archers improved their record to 3-5 and forge a tie with Far Eastern University in the fifth to sixth spots, just two games behind third- to fourth-running University of Santo Tomas and Ateneo de Manila University.

In the first game, Queenie Aquino sizzled early, carrying Far Eastern University to an easy 64-47 victory over struggling University of the East.

The second-year shooting guard fired 23 points, 16 coming from the first half, along with three assists and one steal to lead the Lady Tamaraws to their third win in eight matches while dealing the Lady Warriors’ 31st straight setback.

Also emerging victorious was National University, which displayed great resolve to eke out an 84-74 win over Ateneo in the third game.

The Lady Bulldogs, who notched their fifth straight win, rose to the top of the standings with a 7-1 record with University of the Philippines and University of Santo Tomas still playing at press time.

Trisha Mendoza took charge for the Lady Archers, producing 17 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks.

“Trisha just did it on both ends,” said Lady Archers head coach Cholo Villanueva, referring to the third-year forward.

“She started from the defensive end, guarding the top player from the other team in Victoria Adeshina. But even though it was still her average, she scored 11 points but it was a hard 11 points for her.”

“It’s always our identity to start at the defensive end. That’s why Trisha started being a two-way player, defending their best player. And then on the other end, making the right decisions offensively. That’s why she was able to get the rhythm in the game.”

Down by as many as 12 points in the first half, the Lady Archers turned things around in the third quarter.

Betts Binaohan, Mendoza and Lee Sario linked up to give La Salle its first taste of the lead at 33-32 early in the period.

From there, La Salle did not allow Adamson to retake the lead. Bea Dalisay, Binaohan, Luisa San Juan, Sario, Mendoza, and Bernice Paraiso iced the game for the Lady Archers with 1:11 remaining with the biggest lead at 66-55.


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