NU fights fire with fire, moves one win away from three-peat

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Dec 03, 2016 01:30 PM
NU fights fire with fire, moves one win away from three-peat
HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT. NU had all the answers for DLSU.

From an 11-point lead in the first half to a rumbling rally in the endgame, De La Salle University put their best foot forward in Game 1 of the Finals in the UAAP 79 Women’s Basketball Tournament.

National University took their best shot and still came out on top.

Little-known Ria Nabalan came up big in the last two minutes and the Lady Bulldogs battled back from a double-digit deficit before ultimately fending off the Lady Archers, 77-74, on Saturday at the MOA Arena.

“Credit to DLSU, they were ready for this game,” coach Pat Aquino said after his girls fell behind by as much as 11, 39-28, at the half.

He then continued, “Siguro, we’re not ready and we’re rusty.”

It was a different NU side coming out of the halftime dugout, however, and a vicious 26-4 onslaught granted them a 54-43 lead all of a sudden, late in the third quarter.

Still, the Lady Archers weren’t going away with Khate Castillo and Camille Claro shooting them to within 70-71 with 64 ticks to go on the clock.

It was at that point that Nabalan found herself open back-to-back times for back-to-back threes. Her personal 6-2 run re-established a 77-72 advantage for the Lady Bulldogs.

DLSU could only come as close as three points for the remainder of the game. “At the end of the day, it’s a win for us,” Aquino expressed, still satisfied despite the close call.

Now winners of 47 in a row, the two-time defending champions need just one more win for a three-peat.

Third-year guard Nabalan wound up with 11 points while Gemma Miranda posted a 23-point, 15-rebound double-double for NU. Reigning MVP Bernardino collected 10 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and two steals, but also turned the ball over nine times.

Castillo and Claro combined for 33 points, including seven triples, to go along with 10 rebounds for the Lady Archers.

BOX SCORES

NU 77 – Miranda 23, Animam 14, Nabalan 11, Itesi 11, Bernardino 10, Camelo 3, Ceno 3, Del Carmen 2

DLSU 74 – Castillo 18, Penaranda 16, Claro 15, Revillosa 14, Nunez 7, Arciga 2, Vergara 2, Vela 0

QUARTER SCORES: 20-19, 28-39, 56-49, 77-74

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