Guytingco’s heroics power Ateneo in nail-biter against UP
OFF TO a strong start after the opening weekend of competition, the Lady Eagles continued their perfect run in the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 80 Women’s Basketball tournament with a 52-51 win over the University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons on Wednesday, September 13 at the Araneta Coliseum.
Ateneo bigs Cara Buendia and Tina Deacon topped the stat sheets for Ateneo, with Buendia being the only Lady Eagle to tally double digits after a ten-point and eight-rebound contribution. Deacon added nine markers and five rebounds of her own to punish the Lady Maroons from inside the paint, while Jolina Go followed suit with seven points and three boards.
UP guards Iriss Isip and Daphne Esplana carried their squads throughout the match, scoring double digits each to combine for 28 of their team’s total 51 points. Isip led all scorers with 16 points and five rebounds, while Esplana ended the day with twelve markers and two boards.
Both squads looked equally error-prone on ball-handling and movement, with UP and Ateneo conceding 30 and 31 turnovers, respectively. Rebounding was equally matched, with the Lady Maroons racking up 45 boards compared to Ateneo’s 44. The Lady Eagles, however, had the edge in field goal percentage, shooting 31.67% compared to UP’s 25.45% from the field.
The Battle of Katipunan saw Ateneo steamroll ahead early in the first quarter, with Deacon drawing first blood and claiming the Lady Eagles’ first five points of the match. Pinpoint shooting from beyond the arc kept the momentum in Ateneo’s favor, as Hazelle Yam and Jhazmin Joson knocked down back-to-back triples to banner a 6-0 scoring run. Points in the paint from Guytingco further battered a struggling UP to give Ateneo the advantage after the first period (16-8).
The Lady Maroons found their rhythm in the second quarter, contesting the Lady Eagles’ offense with renewed fire on their own attack. Capitalizing on lapses in Ateneo’s defense, Isip and Lou Ordoveza brought the game to its first deadlock, nailing consecutive shots from three-point territory that knotted the match (19-19). Buendia, however, came alive to keep the Blue and White afloat, dominating the paint and the perimeter to earn seven of her ten points in the second quarter, heading into the second half (25-23) .
A crossfire between the Katipunan-based squads characterized the third quarter, as Esplana and Isip continued to lead the crusade against the Blue and White off successful drives and hard-earned free throws. An exchange of firepower fueled a tight deficit throughout the quarter and fueled back and forth lead changes, but consecutive and-1 plays from Buendia and Yam gave Ateneo the lead late in the period (35-33). Binky Uy de Ong eventually sealed the lead with buzzer beating triple to end the quarter, hoisting a shot from beyond the arc (38-36).
Both sides found renewed life in the fourth quarter, with Lady Eagle Alyssa Villamor sinking a three-point shot to open the period and extend the lead to a five-point game. A duel of guards kept the momentum swinging as Go combated rivals Isip and Esplana, who gave Ateneo a near scare as the clock winded down.
A layup from Esplana narrowed the gap (45-43), putting the Lady Maroons within striking distance and in a position to take the lead. Isip then stepped on the gas, pulling up for a triple to make it a one-point game (45-46). Not to be undone, Melissa Newsome and Guytingco responded with a high-low play to regain the lead, with a timely triple from Deacon giving the Lady Eagles four points of breathing room (50-46).
Unwilling to give up the win, UP managed to pull back two points with 1:24 left on the clock, making it a one-possession game (50-48). Isip took matters into her own hands, silencing the crowd with a deafening triple (50-51) with 31.6s to go.
Confidence and composure, however, proved to be the key to victory in the quarter’s penultimate possession, as Guytingco powered past Ordoveza on the drive, converting the lay-in to give her squad a lead at the 15.5s mark (52-51).
UP ran the ball down in their last ditch attempt, but resilient defense from the Lady Eagles and a conclusive deflection from Buendia forced a turnover to give Ateneo the ball back at the buzzer and grant them the win.
The victory over UP moves the Lady Eagles to a 2-0 win-loss record in the tournament, and the team will face Far Eastern University (FEU) in their next match on Sunday, September 17.
Ateneo-UP: 16-8, 25-23, 38-36, 52-51
Ateneo: Buendia – 10, Deacon – 9, Go – 7, Yam – 6, Guytingco – 6, Joson – 6, Uy de Ong – 3, Villamor – 3, Cancio – 2
UP: Isip – 16, Esplana – 12, Ordoveza – 7, Domingo – 7, Bascon – 3, Ongsiako – 3, Rodas – 2, Pesquera – 1