MANILA, Philippines -- Grace Irebu fired 33 points to power University of Santo Tomas (UST) to a 91-73 demolition of Ateneo de Manila University in the UAAP Season 82 women's basketball tournament on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Irebu, last season's Most Valuable Player, went 12-of-20 from the field, grabbed 13 rebounds, and blocked two shots to keep the Golden Tigresses unbeaten with a 3-0 win-loss record.
"This year is gonna be different. My first objective is I want to bring my team to the finals," said the Congolese Irebu, still motivated by last season's bronze-medal finish.
Lon Rivera added 14 points, eight boards, three steals, and two assists, as Tantoy Ferrer got herself a double-double with 13 points and 18 rebounds in the win.
UST bucked its slow start and slowly pulled away in the third frame, flipping a close 46-42 lead to a commanding 64-50 advantage.
It was all Golden Tigresses from that point on, with Shen Callangan extending the lead to as much as 22, 88-66, with a layup with 1:26 to play to seal off the victory.
"We had a slow start nung first half, playing dismal defense so I told the girls that we need to go back sa transition defense because doon kami nalalamangan ng Ateneo," said coach Haydee Ong.
UST will next face defending champion National University on Sunday, in a battle of unbeaten teams.
Alyssa Villamor carried the Lady Eagles with 17 points, six rebounds, and four assists, while Hazelle Yam got 15 points and five boards as they suffered their first loss in three outings.
UST 91 -- Irebu 33, Rivera 14, Ferrer 13, Portillo 9, Callangan 6, soriano 5, Tacatac 4, Gandalla 3, Gonzales 2, Panti 2, Sangalang 0.
ATENEO 73 -- Villamor 17, Yam 15, Guytingco 12, Moslares 7, Payac 7, Aquisap 3, Cancio 3, Chu 3, Joson 3, Newsome 3, De Dios 0.
Quarter scores: 25-22, 41-39, 67-47, 91-73.
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