Another game, another win. The National University Lady Bulldogs extended their unbeaten streak, and they made it look easy too, dismantling the outmatched Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles, 74-52. The still-perfect Bulldogs powered past Ateneo on the back of a well-balanced attack, as 5 of their players scored 9 or more points in the game. Lady Bulldogs scoring guard Gemma Miranda led that attack with a team-high 17 points on impressive 58% shooting, along with a remarkable 12 boards. As usual, star centre Danica Jose headlined for the Lady Eagles, posting a typically massive 19 point 17 rebound double-double. The Lady Bulldogs polish their flawless 11-0 slate with the blowout victory, and edge closer to the plum prize of an elimination round sweep. The 5-6 Lady Eagles meanwhile slip under 0.500 and a bit farther from playoff contention.
The Lady Bulldogs effectively sealed the win in the third quarter, burning the ADMU with 21 points in the period. After shooting 34% in the first half, NU exploded for 50% shooting after the break. Reserve Camilla Escoto sank all 3 of her shots to lead the Bulldogs’ push with 6 3rd quarter points. Ateneo’s woes were further compounded by 10 turnovers, which the NU ladies were able to convert into 9 points. The Bulldogs’ defence in general caused problems all game long for the Eagles, and they were particularly merciless in the third period. After already suffocating the ADMU offence into 12 points a quarter in the first half, NU one-upped themselves by even further limiting the already stagnant Eagles offense to only 11 in the third stanza. Their defence was keyed by all-around menace Afril Bernardino, whose peerless athleticism translated to 4 steals, 3 blocks, and numerous disrupted plays throughout the entirety of match. With 2 minutes to go in the fourth, and NU up more than 30 points, the Bulldogs sent in the benchwarmers, signalling the end of the contest.
Bernardino, Shelley Gupilan, Risa Paig and Ria Nabalan all scored 9 points for the Lady Bulldogs. These 4 players’ production, along with Gemma Miranda’s 17, would’ve been enough to overcome the entire Lady Eagles’ output, highlighting the disparity between the two squads. Ateneo’s Likha Javier fired in 10 points on impeccable 4/4 shooting, but marred her otherwise solid outing with 6 giveaways. Usually dependable starting point guard Sara Bo-ot was invisible in the face of NU’s withering defence, and failed to score in nearly 30 minutes of play.