UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas stayed alive in the UAAP Season 81 women's basketball tournament with a gutsy 68-65 victory over La Salle Friday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Sai Larosa caught fire as she powered the Tigresses with 25 points, five assists, four rebounds, and two steals to force a tie at fourth place with the Lady Archers at 8-6.
"That’s what I told the girls. We have to win this one to live another day. So we forced a rubber match against La Salle," said coach Haydee Ong. "We need to review our mistakes and what we need to adjust because La Salle will get back at us."
UST and La Salle will joust once more on Wednesday in a playoff, which could be also considered as the start of the stepladder semis.
Grace Irebu was a force down low with her 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Reynalyn Ferrer had eight points and 11 boards in the Tigresses win.
Staring at a 63-55 deficit in the fourth frame, La Salle chipped away the lead and got to within one, 66-65 with a pair of Kath Nunez freebies with 1:20 remaining.
Ruby Portillo canned a pair of free throws on the other end that made it a three-point game for UST, and the Tigresses were able to pull the stop as they stifled Camille Claro's potential game-tying triple to come away with the W.
Khate Castillo paced the Lady Archers with 16 points, while Nunez got 14 points and four boards in the defeat.
UST 68 -- Larosa 25, Irebu 13, Ferrer 8, Capilit 7, Portillo 6, Aujero 4, Rivera 3, Sangalang 2, Tacatac 0, Magat 0, Gonzales 0.
LA SALLE 65 -- K. Castillo 16, Nunez 14, Revillosa 11, Claro 10, Paraiso 5, Torres 4, Binaohan 3, Quingco 2, Delcampo 0, Arciga 0, Jimenez 0.
Quarters: 10-17, 31-28, 54-44, 68-65.