April 25, 2024

Finals MVP Tantoy Ferrer bares main key behind UST’s historic title after shocking NU in women's finals

Finals MVP Tantoy Ferrer bares main key behind UST’s historic title after shocking NU in women

The 17-year title drought is over!

The UST Growling Tigresses won the UAAP Season 86 women’s basketball championship after grinding out a 71-69 Game 3 victory over seven-time defending champion NU Lady Bulldogs on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The first two games were instant classics, and the decider turned out to be a fitting finale, as the two squads engaged in yet another slugfest. 

The Lady Bulldogs' barrage in the first three quarters saw them build a 14-point lead entering the final frame. But it was clearly not enough to thwart the gritty Tigresses, who were hell-bent on getting the historic win.

Tantoy Ferrer, who was later named Finals MVP, led the way for UST as she finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds. After the game, she dedicated the victory to longtime coach Haydee Ong.

“Coach, lahat ng pagod namin at effort, dahil sa’yo ‘yun,” said Ferrer, who missed all of last season due to an ACL injury, as she sat beside Ong in the press room.

“Kaya kami nandito, dahil sa’yo, coach. Alam ko matagal mo na hinahanda ‘to, 2018 pa lang, ‘nung pumasok kami, sabi mo hindi puwedeng e-exit kami sa UST na wala kang ibibigay na championship,” the graduating senior elaborated. “Marami tayong pinagdaanan. Thank you, coach kasi hindi mo ko iniwan.”

Helping Ferrer mount the epic comeback was Kent Pastrana, who scored 12 of her 16 points in the second half, none bigger than her two-pointer down the lane off a nifty iso move, which tied the game at 69.

The most important, bucket, however, came courtesy of Angelina Villasin. After a crucial stop, the quick guard leaked toward UST’s basket, caught the outlet pass, and sank the layup, which proved to be the game-winner.

“I shoot that shot every day at practice. I had already seen that shot a long time ago in my head when I first came to the Philippines and wanted to win the UAAP,” said Villasin, who grew up in Chicago, and like Ferrer, played her final UAAP game.

With 11.5 seconds left, NU still had a shot at extending its dynastic reign to eight straight championships. But UST prevented the Lady Bulldogs from getting a quality look. 

Kristine Cayabyab and Princess Fabruada paced the Lady Bulldogs, scoring 18 and 13 markers, respectively.

History was on NU’s side for the past seven years. But it finally tipped over to the other side this season, on España’s side to be specific.