AS GOOD AS GOLD: Lady Bulldogs win 50th in a row
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 16, 2017 12:13 PM
WIN RUN. The last time the NU Lady Bulldogs lost, the Philippines had a different president, LeBron James had just returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Alyssa Valdez was just about to lead Ateneo to its first-ever volleyball title.
National University and head coach Pat Aquino have added yet another feather to their cap now in the 80th Season of the UAAP Women’s Basketball Tournament.
Turning the rematch of last year’s Finals into a mismatch on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum, the Lady Bulldogs had their way against De La Salle University, 77-56, for their 50th consecutive victory dating back to 2014.
Rhena Itesi posted a 21-point, 15-rebound double-double, but it was Ria Nabalan who spearheaded the pivotal push that effectively put the game out of reach.
With the Lady Archers mounting some sort of a fightback and trimming their deficit to 49-59 at the end of the third, Nabalan scored six of her 18 points in the 13-0 run that re-established a 72-49 edge for the three-time defending champions.
Nabalan also added seven rebounds, four steals, and three assists to make sure their mentor retains his undefeated streak now into a fourth season.
The last time NU lost was in the championship round of Season 76 in 2014.
Since then, they have dominated UAAP Women’s Basketball with the likes of Afril Bernardino and Gemma Miranda and now, with Congolese Itese and fellow frontcourt player Nabalan.
Aquino, however, remained modest as always about his monumental feat. “I never expected in my entire coaching career that I’ll get 50 straight wins, but again, I’ll downplay it. I told my girls not to think about it,” he said.
With a 2-0 record, Aquino’s girls find themselves in a three-way tie for first with Ateneo de Manila University and University of Sto. Tomas.
He then continued, “I told them that this is a new season so let’s take it one game at a time again.”
The Lady Bulldogs imposed what has become their trademark bully basketball on DLSU, dominating inside points, 36-18 as well as rebounds, 56-34. “Siyempre, one factor is our defense,” Aquino said.
Jack Daniel Animam was a big part of that with a total of nine points, 21 rebounds, and two blocks.
For the Lady Archers, Angelika Figueroa topped the scoring column with 15 points.
Without all of ace scorer Camille Claro and bigs Susan Al-Mohamen and Benette Revillosa, however, they just did not have enough to put up a fight against dynastic NU.
Runner-up last season, the Taft-based team is yet to win through two games.
Meanwhile, together with NU atop the leaderboard are the Tigresses who clawed Adamson University, 75-66.
First-year player Jem Angeles had for herself a breakout game with 22 points, seven rebounds, four steals, and two assists and was backstopped by Sai Larosa who was a force with a 16-point, 17-rebound double-double.
Behind those two, UST waltzed its way into back-to-back wins to start the season.
On the other hand, the Lady Falcons suffered a second straight setback. Jamie Alcoy led them with 14 points and eight rebounds.
NU 77 – Itesi 21, Nabalan 19, Antiquera 11, Animam 9, Sison 5, Del Carmen 4, Harada 4, Camelo 2, Ano-Os 2, Ceno, Tanesa.
DLSU 56 – Figueroa 15, Castillo 11, Torres 6, Javier 5, Jimenez 4, Vergara 4, Paraiso 3, Nunez 3, Del Campo 3, Arciga 2, Dagdagan 0.
QUARTER SCORES: 22-10, 33-25, 55-36, 77-54
UST 75 – Angeles 22, Larosa 16, Rivera 11, Anies 8, Isanan 8, Capilit 6, Penaflor 4, Gandalla 0, Aujero 0, Jerez 0, Sanggalang 0
ADAMSON 66 – Alcoy 14, Camacho 13, Prado 11, Villanueva 7, Araja 6, Rosario 4, Cacho 2, Cabug 1, Razalo 0, Aciro 0, Tacitac 0
QUARTER SCORES: 11-12, 34-30, 54-44, 75-66
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