AFTER more than a decade, the UAAP women’s basketball crown is back in the hands of the De La Salle Lady Archers.
The Taft-based cagebelles defeated National University Bulldogs, 69-61, in the deciding Game 3 Saturday to cop the Season 76 championship at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Ara Abaca and Inna Corcuera scored six points each in a telling third quarter for the Lady Archers to bag their first crown since 2002 – the final year of the team’s fourth straight championship.
The Lady Archers outscored the Lady Bulldogs, 23-11, to take a commanding 53-40 edge entering the fourth period.
They won the best-of-three series, 2-1.
Trisha Piatos had 15 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and three steals as she run away with the Finals Most Valuable Player award.
Abaca finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds, while Corcuera added 10 markers for the Lady Archers.
La Salle coach Tyrone Bautista said the title was just too sweet for him as he broke the 11-year drought of the school in women’s basketball.
“First of all, I tried to be as stoic as coach Juno (Sauler) pero hindi ko magawa. It’s too emotional for me because after 11 years, we were able to win the title,” said Bautista, a member of the La Salle Green Archers team in the 90s.
“I can’t explain it yet. I feel great. It has yet to sink in. But more than anything else, I’m happy for the players who put on the hardwork and sacrifice,” Bautista added.
The Lady Archers will have a relatively intact line-up for next year with only Camille Ramos graduating for the team.
It was a disappointing loss for the Lady Bulldogs, who topped the elimination round with a 12-2 win-loss slate. They were also scheduled to go to Hong Kong as travel perks had they won the championship.
Bautista admitted he knew about the Lady Bulldogs’ incentive, but insisted it wasn’t a motivational factor for the team.
“Okay na kami kahit sa Binondo lang,” Bautista said in jest. “We didn’t talk about it. I have no idea but we hope that we can go somewhere.”
DLSU (69) -- Abaca 16, Piatos 15, Corcuera 10, Ong 8, Santos 5, Claro 5, Melendres 4, Ramos 2, Ong 2, Garcia 2.
NU (61) -- Paig 21, Bernardino 16, Abriam 7, Tongco 6, Gupilan 6, Bonleon 4, Escoto 1, Sison 0, Seno 0, Antiquera 0.
Quarterscores: 15-13; 30-29; 53-40; 69-61.