National University’s amazing winning streak in UAAP Women’s basketball finally came to a halt.
And again, it was La Salle which dealt the Lady Bulldogs the sad reality that they’re no longer invincible.
Showing incredible character, the Lady Archers pulled off a gritty 61-57 overtime win to snap NU’s winning run at 108 games Wednesday at the Quadricentennial Pavillion in Espana, Manila.
Coincidentally, it was also the Taft-based school which handed them their last defeat, 69-61, on October 5, 2013.
“Finally, binigyan na rin nila ako ng magandang regalo,” quipped seven-year Lady Archers head coach Cholo Villanueva, who took over from Tyrone Bautista in 2015.
“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.
La Salle almost had the game in the bag in regulation, leading 49-46 with 10.5 seconds left after a split on the stripe by Lee Sario.
NU was able to force overtime after a broken play led to a flick from deep by super senior Mikka Cacho.
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. And that was it.
Besides ending the streak, La Salle rose to 11-2 in the standings — holding on to its full game lead over University of Santo Tomas for no. 2. 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 win of the Lady Archers inspired their men’s counterpart as the Archers beat the Bulldogs, 63-58, to enhance their semis bid.
Penny Estacio showed the way after tallying 13 points of the Green Archers’ 16-point output in the third quarter, outscoring the whole Bulldogs’ side.
The win evened La Salle’s record at 6-6 while handing the Bulldogs their fourth defeat in 12 games.
NU’s defeat allowed reigning champion University of the Philippines to clinch the first twice-to-beat advantage in the semis no matter what happens to its last game against (8-3) Ateneo.
The Eagles were playing against the University of the East Warriors at presstime.
The Maroons improved their record to 11-2 after downing the UST Tigers, 78-60.
Carl Tamayo led UP with 19 points on top of nine rebounds while Cyril Gonzales and Malick Diouf added 14 and 10 points with the latter hauling down 14 boards.
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.
Quarter: 14-12, 32-25, 32-36, 49-49, 61-57.