NEWLY-MINTED Most Valuable Player Grace Irebu would not be denied of a Final Four spot.
The Congolese center powered University of Santo Tomas to a 79-67 victory over La Salle in their fourth-place playoff in the UAAP Season 81 women's basketball tournament on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Irebu pumped nine of her 29 points in the payoff period to captain the Tigresses' 25-point fourth quarter finishing kick to advance to the stepladder semifinals.
Mythical Team member Sai Larosa added 18 points, four rebounds and two blocks but committed eight turnovers. Loraine Capilit had 16 points and four rebounds.
"I'm happy with the resiliency of the girls. They did not give up after we were down early. They just kept on fighting," said coach Haydee Ong.
UST will try to further move up the ladder on Sunday against Adamson.
Khate Castillo paced La Salle with 20 points, four assists and three assists, while Camille Claro had 15 points, seven boards, three assists and two steals.
The Lady Archers failed to sustain their hot start after jumping on an 11-0 spurt to open the game as they exited the tourney at fifth place.
UST 79 - Irebu 19, Larosa 18, Capilit 16, Aujero 4, Fereer 3, Tacatac 3, Portillo 2, Rivera 2, Sangalang 2, Magat 0.
La Salle 67 - K. Castillo 20, Claro 15, Arciga 10, Revillosa 7, Paraiso 6, Torres 3, Binaohan 2, Quingco 2, Nunez 2, R. Castillo 0, Delcampo 0, Jimenez 0.
Quarterscores: 17-21; 38-33; 54-50; 79-67.