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Ateneo pummels UST in OT to start "extended" women's basketball stepladder playoffs

By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Ateneo lost a 16-point lead but stifled UST in overtime to get the better of a 64-53 result at the beginning of an "extended" UAAP women's basketball stepladder playoffs at the Blue Eagle Gym on Wednesday.

The Lady Eagles opened a 31-15 halftime cushion in the playoff for the last seat to the knockout stages proper, but the Tigresses stifled them, 19-9, in the third quarter to cut the lead to just six, 40-34, entering the fourth quarter, triggering the down-the-wire regulation finish.

UST completed the comeback as it started the fourth with a 10-4 run capped by a basket from Bettina Penaflor to tie the game, 44-all, with 5:06 left.

It was a seesaw battle in the final five minutes of regulation with Penaflor forcing overtime with another equalizer with six seconds left.

Ateneo had a shot at stealing the win in regulation, but Melchar Jerez blocked Hazelle Yam's buzzer-beater.

Still, the team remained composed in the extension, outscoring UST, 14-3, in the extra five minutes to finally secure the victory.

Yam finished with 26 points, seven rebounds, one steal, and one block for the Lady Eagles, who will now take on the UE Lady Warriors for third place.

The winner of the said match will battle La Salle in the next round. La Salle will hold a twice-to-beat advantage.

The team that will survive the said stage will battle NU in the finals. NU, by virtue of sweeping the eliminations, will hold a thrice-to-beat edge, equivalent to a 1-0 lead in a best-of-five showdown, in the championship series.

Penaflor ended up with 18 markers and 12 rebounds for the Tigresses, who bowed out of the competition in fifth place.

Box Scores:

Ateneo 64-Yam 26, Jose 15, Go 11, Tomita 5, Buendia 2, Guytingco 2, Deacon 2, Lamar 1, Javier 0, Aseron 0, Nitorreda 0

UST 53-Penaflor 18, Cortes 10, Larosa 9, Magdaluyo 7, Brillante 4, Felisarta 4, Pernia 1, Jerez 0, Angeles 0, Isanan 0, Portillo 0, Capilit 0

Quarterscores: 12-5, 31-15, 40-34, 50-50, 64-53

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