THE National University Lady Bulldogs and the San Sebastian College Staglets held off separate rivals to win the women’s and junior division crowns of the 23rd Fr. Martin Cup Summer Basketball tournament.
Returning veteran Trixie Antiquera fired 18 points to lead the Lady Bulldogs to a 76-69 beating of the La Salle Lady Archers for the women’s plum at the MVP gymnasium of the San Beda College-Manila campus in Mendiola.
The Staglets, led by Adamson transferee Alex Desoyo and big man Damie Cuntapay, stood their ground and fended off the Letran Squires, 83-80, in the battle for the junior division honors.
It was the Lady Bulldogs’ second crown in three years in this cagefest which is supported by Armor On Sportswear.
The Lady Bulldogs leaned on a 9-0 run touched off by Ria Nabalan and Antquiera’s triple in the last three minutes to overtake the Lady Archers and move away, 39-34 at halftime.
Antiquera sank five of six treys during that period, and then gave way to the big plays of Nabalan and 6’4” Congo cager Rheena Itesi in the third quarter.
Nabalan made 16 points, including a drive in the last 35 seconds of the third that handed NU a 57-46 spread. NU finished the tournament with seven straight wins.
“We had to stop their shooters, lessen our errors and use our height advantage. The plan went well, And our small guys found openings to shoot,” said Lady Bulldogs coach Patrick Aquino.
Khate Castillo shot 16 points for La Salle, which lost the UAAP women’s title to NU last season.
The 6’5” Cuntapay made his presence felt underneath for the tall Staglets side, firing seven of 15 point output in the second period.
His baskets, along with triples from four other teammates allowed the Staglets to move away, 45-34, at halftime, their biggest in the game.
The Squires, with Kobe Monje showing the way with 13 points, rallied and gave the Staglets a scare in the fourth, 74-77.
But Cuntapay’s inside plays, along with that of another big man, JP Timbacaya, allowed the Staglets to remain, 80-74, in the last 1:14.
“The boys showed their maturity. They overcame the rally. They found a way,” said Staglets coach Mel Banua.