UAAP: Inexperience haunts La Salle women in Game 1

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 08 2022 01:51 PM

The De La Salle Lady Archers are down in their best-of-3 series against the NU Lady Bulldogs. UAAP Media.
The De La Salle Lady Archers are down in their best-of-3 series against the NU Lady Bulldogs. UAAP Media.

MANILA, Philippines -- De La Salle University was dealt a reality check by National University (NU) in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 85 women's basketball Finals on Wednesday morning.

The Lady Archers were confident entering the best-of-3 finals, having beaten NU in the elimination round -- a result that ended the Lady Bulldogs' 108-game winning streak. La Salle also took down University of Santo Tomas in the Final 4 to advance to the championship round for the first time since 2016.

They were clobbered by the Lady Bulldogs in Game 1, however, as NU pulled away for a 93-61 victory to move on the cusp of a seventh straight women's championship. 

La Salle had been competitive early, but fell apart when NU escalated its pressure defense. They also had no answers when the Lady Bulldogs began to find their mark from long distance.

"I think our inexperience in the finals showed," admitted La Salle coach Cholo Villanueva, pointing to their turnover numbers -- the Lady Archers committed 21 turnovers that NU turned into 32 easy points. 

"Them [NU] coming from the finals before the pandemic, it really showed," said Villanueva. 

"We were making them shoot bad shots, pero they had 24 second-chance points. Them being the bigger team, them being the stronger team, they have three guys who are above 6 feet siguro," he added.

Villanueva is not losing hope, pointing out that it takes two wins to claim the championship. However, he also stressed that his team needs to be much better on Sunday's Game 2 if they hope to extend the best-of-3 series to a decider. 

In Game 1, they got an 18-point, 15-rebound double-double from Fina Niantcho Tchuido but every other Lady Archer struggled from the field. Bettina Binaohan went 4-of-11 for 11 points, and Lee Sario was 4-of-15 for nine points.

"For us, we have to be on point with every possession, we need to be perfect on everything just to get a chance to win a game. Just to get a chance to win the game pa lang 'yun," said Villenueva.

"We just need to be more precise on our movements, be perfect on our movements in each possession because again, they always capitalize on our mistakes," he also said. "The inexperience is there but we need to mature quickly in the next three days."

"We need to be maturing quicker, we need to be growing quicker, and learn from our mistakes in this game. And hopefully win the possession game by Game 2, and win that game."

La Salle has not won a women's basketball championship since Season 76, when they defeated NU in three games. Since then, the Lady Bulldogs have won six straight titles. 

UAAP Season 85 is streaming on iWantTFC every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, available for Premium users outside the Philippines.

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