UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas continued to climb the UAAP Season 81 women's basketball stepladder semifinals with a 78-69 conquest over No. 3 seed Adamson on Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
MVP Grace Irebu had 28 points, 20 rebounds, three blocks, an assist and a steal as the Tigresses survived their third straight elimination game.
Sai Larosa chipped in 17 points, eight boards, three assists and two steals, while Tin Capilit had 13 for UST.
"I'm speechless," said coach Haydee Ong after the tough win. "Thank you kay Lord for this opportunity who gave us a chance to play another day. Larosa, Grace, Tin played their hearts out."
The Tigresses went to Irebu early to establish a 22-14 lead that soon grew to a 21-point advantage, 46-25.
Mar Prado willed the Lady Falcons back as they got to within two, 65-63 after a Jamie Alcoy bucket with 5:06 remaining.
But UST was quick to recover, going on a 9-0 run capped off by a Sai Larosa layup that made it 74-63 entering the final two minutes.
The Tigresses now prepare for No. 2 FEU Lady Tamaraws, armed with a twice-to-beat advantage, on Wednesday.
Despite the win, Ong appealed for the availability of Ruby Portillo and Clarice Aujero for their next game after bad calls slapped against them in the pivotal fourth quarter.
Portillo was slapped with a disqualifying foul after going for the ball against Prado, while Aujero was whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul after her chasedown block attempt on Kristeena Camacho.
"We want to appeal on Portillo's disqualifying foul. She's not known as a dirty player and she was going for the ball. Also kay Aujero. We will appeal this because we need them for the FEU game," she said.
Prado finshed with a game-high 34 points, 10 rebounds and seven steals for Adamson.
Alcoy and Camacho both had nine for the Lady Falcons, as coach Ewon Arayi leads her Adamson to a fourth place finish in her first season at the helm.
UST 78 - Irebu 28, Larosa 17, Capilit 13, Rivera 6, Aujero 5, Portillo 5, Ferrer 4, Tacatac 0, Magat 0, Sangalang 0, Gonzales 0.
Adamson 69 - Prado 34, Alcoy 9, Camacho 9, Cacho 6, Araja 5, Tandaan 3, Bilbao 2, Aciro 1, Cabug 0, Osano 0.
Quarterscores: 22-14; 43-25; 60-47; 78-69.