MANILA, Philippines -- University of Santo Tomas (UST) may be short-handed when it takes on Far Eastern University (FEU) on Saturday for a spot in the finals of the UAAP Season 82 women's basketball tournament.
UST head coach Haydee Ong said Wednesday that both Tacky Tacatac and Eka Soriano are doubtful for the game.
The Lady Tamaraws forced the decider after hacking out a 48-46 triumph over the Golden Tigresses at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Tacatac played just two minutes and two seconds in the loss, exiting early after sustaining what was initially diagnosed as an MCL strain in her right knee.
"Natuhod siya," Ong said of her guard, who is average 7.23 points and 3.31 rebounds per game for second-seeded UST.
Soriano, meanwhile, was thrown out of the game with 8:27 to play after incurring a second technical foul for profanity. She had already gotten a technical, 10 seconds into the fourth frame, for a delay of game violation.
Ong was unimpressed with the call that led to Soriano's ejection.
"We'll write a letter also for the situation of Soriano, to appeal. Kasi ano eh, walang kakwenta-kwenta 'yung technical ng bata," she said.
Soriano is averaging 3.2 points and 2.8 rebounds per game, but had stepped up in Tacatac's absence and produced 5 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals before her ejection.
Ong is hopeful that the two-day gap between games will be enough, as Season 82 MVP Grace Irebu is also dealing with a sore right shoulder after getting elbowed early in the game.
"Hopefully, with the two days rest, hopefully maka-recuperate ang mga injured players namin," said the coach.
UST will also need its bench players to step up, said Ong, especially after seeing them play tentatively without Tacatac on the floor to guide them.
"Of course, kalahati are rookies and sophomores pa rin. This is the first time na we're going for the finals, so medyo dinaga rin, as we say, 'di ba," Ong said.
"Hopefully, with this game, now they've learned kung paano to handle 'yung mga ganitong situation, and on Saturday we'll play better against FEU," she added.
The winner of the game advances to play National University in the best-of-3 finals.
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