GRACE Irebu stamped her class to lift University of Santo Tomas to a 91-73 drubbing of Ateneo in the UAAP Season 82 women's basketball tournament on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Congolese center scored 33 points on a 12-of-20 clip, to go with 13 rebounds and two blocks to keep the Golden Tigresses on top of the leaderboard at 3-0.
"This year is gonna be different. My first objective is I want to bring my team to the Finals," said Irebu of her best performance of the tournament.
Irebu led the third quarter turnaround for UST as it turned a tight 46-42 lead to a dominant 64-50 advantage to seize control of the game.
The lead ballooned to 22 points, 88-66, after a Shen Callangan layup with 1:26 remaining.
"We had a slow start nung first half, playing dismal defense so I told the girls that we need to go back sa trasition defense because doon kami nalalamangan ng Ateneo," said coach Haydee Ong.
Lon Rivera also did damage for the Growling Tigers with 14 points, eight boards, three steals and two assists, while Tantoy Ferrer recorded a double-double with 13 points and 18 rebounds.
UST braces for a matchup against defending champion National University on Sunday.
Alyssa Villamor paced the Lady Eagles with 17 points, six rebounds and four assists in their first defeat in three games.
Hazelle Yam also had 15 points and five boards, while Kat Guytingco scored 12.
UST 91 - Irebu 33, Rivera 14, Ferrer 13, Portillo 9, Callangan 6, soriano 5, Tacatac 4, Gandalla 3, Gonzales 2, Panti 2, Sangalang 0.
Ateneo 73 - Villamor 17, Yam 15, Guytingco 12, Moslares 7, Payac 7, Aquisap 3, Cancio 3, Chu 3, Joson 3, Newsome 3, De Dios 0.
Quarterscores: 25-22; 41-39; 67-47; 91-73.