MANILA, Philippines — La Salle and Adamson ended their respective UAAP Season 86 women’s basketball campaigns in high spirits after beating separate foes on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Lady Archers may have missed the Final Four following their runner-up finish last year but they wrapped up their stint with three straight wins capped by a 58-45 win over the winless University of the East.
Lee Sario led La Salle with 18 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. Bernice Paraiso had 14 points and 18 rebounds, while Tricia Mendoza added six points, 10 rebounds, three assists, and two steals to finish the season with a 7-7 record in fifth place including back-to-back wins over Final Four-bound teams Ateneo and University of the Philippines.
“I’m very proud of the girls because from our first-round performance to now going into the second round and finishing the UAAP tournament on a winning note speaks a lot about the big turnaround that we achieved this year,” said La Salle coach Cholo Villanueva.
“The theme for this year is learning, improving, and not making the same mistakes. I think we proved that in this second round. It’s good momentum for us going into Season 87. Hopefully, we bring the same energy from what we achieved in the second round,” he added.
Villanueva is looking forward to bouncing back next season as most of his players are still eligible to play.
“In reality, we have an intact lineup because Bernice still has a playing year under her belt. Lee and Bettina (Binaohan) still have a playing year. Most of the players aren’t graduating yet,” he said. “The experiences that we got this year, hopefully, we’ll be bringing them next year and help us reach our goal, which is to win a championship, and I think this year helped us a lot in terms of learning and improving. Hopefully, we don’t forget the lessons that we learned this year and become the contender that we are next year.”
UE had another 0-14 campaign for the second straight year, losing 37 games in a row.
Meanwhile, Adamson ended a three-game skid with a 71-60 win over Far Eastern University to finish first-year coach Ryan Monteclaro’s debut season on a high note.
“This season was about getting better and buying into what system we wanted to achieve,” said Monteclaro after a 4-10 finish. “Obviously, our first round was more on familiarization, in the second round, we were able to see the identity of the team.”
Cris Padilla led the Lady Falcons with 18 points. Elaine Etang had 12 points, while Cheska Apag and Victoria Adeshina scored 10 points each and combined for 13 rebounds.
Skipper captain Rose Ann Dampios, whom Monteclaro revealed played with a partial ACL tear this season, is the only graduating student-athlete from Adamson this year.
“We’re really upbeat, we’re really excited,” said Monteclaro. “We have 15 eligible players for next year. We have some players on the B team. It’s going to be a tough one because this year was tough because we had to put five players from Team B. It’s gonna be a healthy competition in a way. Hopefully, we can land some special recruits to help us also.”
The Lady Tamaraws ended the season with a six-game losing streak, finishing with a 3-11 card. Josee Kaputu ended her stellar rookie year with 25 points and 20 rebounds.