MANILA, Philippines -- Adamson University star Jerom Lastimosa and De La Salle University cager Bettina Binaohan stepped up when it mattered most for their respective squads in the homestretch of the UAAP Season 85 men's and women's basketball tournaments.
Playing through a right foot injury, Lastimosa braved adversity and kept the Soaring Falcons alive in the race for the last Final 4 berth, while Binaohan played an instrumental role in La Salle’s historic 61-57 overtime win against six-time champion National University (NU) that snapped the latter’s record feat of 108 consecutive victories.
For their heroics, Lastimosa and Binaohan were voted as the Collegiate Press Corps UAAP Co-Players of the Week.
Lastimosa unleashed 23 points on 5-of-8 shooting from deep in 17 minutes of action to beat Far Eastern University (FEU), 75-70, followed by a seven-point performance highlighted by the game-winning trey in Adamson’s 64-63 escape act against NU.
The flamboyant guard was a marked man in the most important game against NU and fired blanks in the second half, including a pair of 3-pointers down the stretch. But Lastimosa never lost his confidence, sinking a game-winning trey with 5.5 seconds left as Adamson survived NU to stay in the Final 4 hunt with a 7-6 card.
"We're still alive going to the Final 4. Alam ko na 'yung dalawang tira ko is hindi siya pumasok but I never give up sa last shot. So, I think deserve ko naman 'yun kasi pina-practice ko talaga every day. Hindi lang every day, kundi every morning, lunch and dinner," said Lastimosa, who added five rebounds, two assists and a steal versus the Bulldogs.
"One more na lang, one more push just to make it to the Final 4," he added as Adamson has the chance to complete the Final 4 picture with a win against Ateneo de Manila University this Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Binaohan was a vital part of La Salle coach Cholo Villanueva’s perfect game against the once invincible NU, where she posted 10 points, nine rebounds, two assists, and two steals to force a traditional Final Four in the postseason for the first time in nine years.
"Playing a perfect game against a perfect team to win. That's what you need to beat a perfect team like NU so we played perfectly. My girls played perfectly on offense and on defense," said Villanueva.
Binaohan also posted a 14-point, 17-rebound double-double plus two assists and two steals in their 66-41 triumph over the winless University of the East (UE) to seal the No. 2 seed with a 12-2 card for a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four against the No. 3 University of Santo Tomas (UST, 11-3).
Lastimosa stood out over a bevy of candidates led by Ateneo’s Ange Kouame and Dave Ildefonso, University of the Philippines' Carl Tamayo, and UE rookie Rey Remogat, while Binaohan was picked over her teammate Lee Sario and MVP candidate Eka Soriano of UST for the award.
It is the fifth time in four years that the group composed of print and online writers regularly covering the collegiate beat gave a shared citation for two players.
The first was NU's Ria Nabalan and Ateneo's Ange Kouame in Oct. 2018 followed by UST's CJ Cansino and Adamson's Mar Prado in Oct. 2019. UE’s Luis Villegas and Ateneo women’s star Kacey Dela Rosa also shared the honors this season. The group also handed out Co-Players of the Week honors in the NCAA with San Beda University's Robert Bolick and Colegio de San Juan de Letran's Bong Quinto in Aug. 2018.