Nikki Villasin Seals Title for UST Tigresses with Clutch Shot: ‘If I make this, it’s over’
MANILA, Philippines—When University of Santo Tomas’ Nikki Villasin sank her fast-break layup with 11.9 seconds left in Game 3 of the UAAP Season 86 women’s basketball Finals, she already knew what coming next.The score was tied at 69-all, the Growling Tigresses had a chance to take the lead in transition and Villasin pounced on that opening with an easy breakaway bucket to take a 71-69 lead.She did not doubt that after she made the shot the game was already over.Honestly, it just got really quiet. It was like me and the basket and I saw my teammates, they gave me a quick look and I scanned the floor. I was like, ‘If I make this, it’s over,’ said Villasin as she recalled her game-winning shot.Right when it went through the hoop and I looked back, I was like, ‘oh my God, we just won.’ Because I knew we were going to play defense, I had no doubt about our defense.
Like prophecy, Villasin’s thoughts turned into reality: her basket turned out to be the nail in the Lady Bulldogs’ coffin to give UST the Season 86 title after her team rallied from 15 points down late in the third.The Filipino-American’s bucket also snapped NU’s long and dominant seven-peat title streak in the UAAP. He finished with 12 points, four rebounds and two assists.To add even more weight to Villasin’s heroics, UST’s newfound title broke its tie with Far Eastern University for the most number of championships in women’s basketball.A large part of Villasin’s performance could be credited to her trust in coach Haydee Ong.”I texted her and I said, ‘y’know I got you no matter what. I told her I’ll work on it [shot]. This season, we’re going to finish it strong so it was very fulfilling.”‘, he said.”I shoot that shot every day in practice. So I knew and I also saw that shot a long time ago in my head when I came here in the Philippines and I wanted to win in the UAAP.”
Villasin ended her collegiate stint after two seasons with the Growling Tigresses.