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DLSU Lady Archers outduel NU in Game 3 to reclaim Women’s basketball crown

By Anton Roxas Posted Oct 5th 2013

After eleven years, the De La Salle University Lady Archers are once again champions in the Women’s basketball tournament. DLSU defeated National University, 69-61 in Game Three of their best-of-three series in the UAAP Season 76 Finals on Saturday, October 5, 2013 at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Talented combo guard Trisha Piatos gave the Lady Archers its biggest lead of the game after knocking down a triple from the left wing to give her team a 62-45 lead with 6:05 to go in the fourth quarter.

But, the Lady Bulldogs were not ready to quit, as they went on a 15-2 run to come to within just four points, 64-60 at the 1:30 mark of the final period.

“We expected that (NU’s comeback attempt). NU is probably the toughest team in the UAAP. They’re the most talented. They dominated the eliminations. I think they have the most skilled players. I knew that they wouldn’t just give up, lie down there and give it to us. We expected that but then, andun yung mental toughness ng players ko. We’re not the best team. We’re not the most talented. But if you ask me, we’re the most mentally tough in the league,” said DLSU head coach Tyrone Bautista after the game.

As NU came to within striking distance, DLSU pulled away, outscoring the Lady Bulldogs, 5-1 capped off by a fastbreak layup at the buzzer by graduating player Camille Ramos.

DLSU’s last women’s title came in 2002, the last of four straight championships won by the Taft Ave. based institution. Bautista felt relieved to have finally completed the task at hand.

“It was really a process all throughout with several heartbreaks along the way pero hindi kami nawala sa focus namin. We just kept on working hard, improving, and I was confident na darating din yung time na we will be able to be the champions,” said Bautista, who started his head coaching stint with the Lady Archers in 2009.

The Lady Archers started the game by making an effort to get Ara Abaca involved. And even though Abaca missed her first four shots, DLSU continued to give her opportunities on offense. Abaca finished with 16 points, 12 of which coming in the second half.

“I know what she (Abaca) is capable of doing. She’ll have bad games but in the end, we need her. We have to have her in the game and that is why we kept on going to her until makuha niya yung tira niya and what made it easier was that the players bought into it. They knew that they needed Ara,” said Bautista.

Abaca earned her second straight Mythical Five selection during the awarding ceremony later in the day.

On the other hand, Piatos was was named MVP of the Finals with averages of 14.7 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2.3 steals per game in the series.

Bautista was extremely pleased with the performance of Piatos, who stands at 5’3”.

“The girl has tremendous heart. She has a big heart. She might be small but the girl is really so feisty and resilient. She kept fighting. Today, I think all the hard work that she put in to improve her craft was on full display today.”

A former Green Archers who played five UAAP season with DLSU, Bautista is extremely honored to have delivered to his alma matter,  a fifth Women’s basketball crown.
“To the DLSU community: I would like to thank all of you, the alumni, the families, everybody. The OSD (Office of Sports Development), the Admin, Bro. Bernie (Oca) and Bro. Ricky (Laguda). I just want to thank them for continuing to believe in us. We went through a lot but they were there until the end.”

Box scores:

DLSU 69 – Abaca 16, Piatos 15, Corcuera 10, Ong A. 8, Santos 5, Claro 5, Melendres 4, Ramos 2, Ong M. 2, Garcia 2.

NU 61 – Paig 21, Bernardino 16, Abriam 7, Tongco 6, Gupilan 6, Bonleon 4, Escoto 1, Sison 0, Seňo 0, Antiquiera 0.

Quarter scoring: 15-13, 30-29, 53-40, 69-61.