UP forces a rubber match against UST

The UP Fighting Maroons Women’s Basketball Team (UPWBT) thwarted the late rally of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigresses in overtime, 88-80, in the Season 86 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) women’s basketball tournament semifinals on Nov. 22 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Onoh. Photo from the UAAP Media Team

The UPWBT was down by 20 points, 25-45, in the late part of the second quarter. However, Kaye Pesquera, Favour Onoh, and Rhea Sanchez led the UP Fighting Maroons’ comeback to cut down the Growling Tigresses lead to seven points, 38-45, at the halftime break.

The team, with their aggressive defense, controlled the tempo in the game’s third period as they continued with their hot streak. The UP Fighting Maroons were able to take the upper hand, 59-54, going into the fourth canto.

UPWBT and UST battled it out in the final period as they exchanged basket after basket. With 38.6 seconds left and UST ahead by a point, 72-71, Onoh was sent to the 15-foot line on a foul committed by UST’s Jane Pastrana. Onoh split her free throws to tie the game, 72-72. The UST had the chance to steal the game but Pastrana missed her three-point attempt, to send the game into extra five minutes.

Ozar being guarded by UST’s Nicole Danganan. Photo from the UAAP Media Team

The Growling Tigresses first scored in the overtime (OT) courtesy of a three-point shot by Reynalyn Ferrer, but UPWBT’s Sanchez answered back with a three-point shot of her own, to tie the score, 75 apiece.

Ozar, Pesquera, and Marian Domingo then unleashed a 9-1 run as the UP Fighting Maroons established a comfortable 85-76 lead with a minute and 54 seconds remaining. In the ensuing plays, UST’s Brigette Santos and Pastrana scored on split free throws and a triple, respectively, to put UST within striking distance, 85-80, at the 1:13 mark of the OT period. Pesquera then countered with a three-point shot to seal the victory for the UP Fighting Maroons.

Pesquera. Photo from the UAAP Media Team

Ozar led the UP Fighting Maroons with 25 points, three rebounds, and three assists, while Pesquera contributed 19 points. Onoh, who was celebrating her 18th birthday, had another superb game producing 14 points, 30 rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocks.

With the win, the UP Fighting Maroons took their semifinal series against the Growling Tigresses into a winner-take-all game on Nov. 25, 11 a.m. at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.