DE LA SALLE needed a big third-quarter spark to beat University of Santo Tomas (UST), 56-50, and open its title-retention bid on a bright note Sunday in UAAP Season 77 women’s basketball tournament at the Blue Eagle Gym.
The Lady Archers outscored the Tigresses, 18-9, to break free from a one-point halftime lead and build a 41-33 advantage entering the payoff period.
In other matches, last season’s runner-up National University defeated Adamson University, 62-46; Ateneo turned back University of the Philippines, 54-42; and Far Eastern University downed University of the East, 52-37.
Action in high school volleyball tournament, which took over the first-semester spot of juniors basketball to be played in the second semester, opens on Saturday at the Adamson Gym.
UST is set to defend its girls title minus EJ Laure, who has since moved to the college ranks, while UE hopes to extend its decade-long domination in the boys division even without Edward Camposano.
Adamson University is the event host.
Trisha Piatos scattered 15 of her game-high 23 points from beyond the arc to lead De La Salle, which has an almost intact roster from last year’s champion team.
Kim Reyes and Lore Rivera combined for 25 points for last season’s third placer UST.
Afril Bernardino had 18 points and eight rebounds as the Lady Bulldogs put the game away in the third period with a 52-36 spread.
Danica Jose, now playing in her final season for the Lady Eagles, delivered an 18-point, eight-rebound, two-assist production to lead the way for the Katipunan-based cagebelles, who are seeking to bounce back from a last-place finish in 2013.
April Siat shot 15 points as the Lady Tamaraws, who lost UAAP Season 76 Athlete of the Year and MVP Camille Sambile to graduation, led from wire-to-wire for their first victory.