PCABL: CEU downs Lady Eagles in nail-biter

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THE ATENEO Lady Eagles fell to the Centro Escolar University (CEU) Lady Warriors, 54-59, in their Philippine Chinese Amateur Basketball League (PCABL) match on Saturday, July 22, at the Buddhacare Academy Gym in Quezon City

The loss drops Ateneo to a 1-3 win-loss slate, while CEU advances to a 2-2 record.

Binky Uy de Ong topped the Lady Eagles’ stats, leading the pack with 15 points on 6/14 shooting. Hazelle Yam chipped in 14 of her own, while Jolina Go had an all-around stat line, collecting 12 points, eight boards, and six assists.

Tin Caranto of CEU hounded the Ateneo side with a massive double-double of 15 points (on 6/20 shooting) and 19 rebounds. Steff Ventura followed suit and contributed with a double-double of her own as well, scoring 14 and grabbing 12 boards.

With Tina Deacon and Trina Guytingco sitting the game out, the Lady Scorpions stormed out of the gate, going on a 7-0 run after Uy de Ong laid in the opening basket.

Ateneo's shooting from deep, combined with Uy de Ong's relentless attacking, got them back into the game but foul trouble became an issue early on. The Lady Eagles continually gave up free throws and were in the penalty midway through the period. Turnovers and shaky defense had them down five at 14-19 the end of the first quarter.

Ateneo turned things around in the second period. They tightened up their defense and went on an 8-0 run, spearheaded by Uy de Ong's crafty layup plus a foul-shot that eventually gave them the lead. Yam continued exploiting the high-post which was left vulnerable due to CEU's zone defense. Her short floaters and passes to the inside big kept the Lady Eagles ahead. A short run by the Lady Scorpions cut their deficit to two points 32-34 at the end of the half.

The third period featured some breakneck action from both sides, with the Lady Eagles responding to every CEU basket with a bucket of their own. Yam and Uy de Ong finished multiple fast break layups, but Caranto continued to deal damage both inside and from mid-range.

The Lady Scorpions regained the lead at the start of the the fourth through Caranto's dominant influence. Ateneo's small lineup also gave up a handful of offensive boards and second-chance buckets. The score remained at 54-57 in favor of CEU for a long stretch of the period, with both teams missing shots that they would normally make. Uy de Ong finally ended the drought with a banked layup with over a minute remaining, which cut Ateneo's deficit to a single point.

However, the Lady Eagles' inability to convert their shots inside came back to haunt them in the dying moments of the match. Cara Buendia came close to giving the Lady Eagles the lead with under a minute remaining, but her layup from the left side rolled out of the rim.

Two possessions later, with about five seconds left and Ateneo down one, Uy de Ong received the ball from Yam and drove to the basket but her runner was too strong. Steff Ventura then hit two free throws to seal the win for CEU.

After the game, Go said that the team's lack of size, which lead to numerous offensive boards for CEU, played a big part in the loss.

"Sobrang undersized kami; ‘yung mga guards namin ginagawang bigs (We are so undersized. Our guards played as bigs)," Go said. "Sobrang laking impact na wala si Tina [Deacon] (Tina [Deacon’s] absence had a huge impact.)"

Quarter scores: 14-19, 32-34, 49-50, 56-59

Box scores:

Ateneo: Uy de Ong - 15, Yam - 14, Go - 12, Payac - 6, Aquisap - 5, Buendia - 4

CEU: Caranro - 15, Ventura - 14, Lacson - 8, Medico - 6, Galgo - 6, Gayo - 5, Llosala - 3, Sumarago - 2

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