It was another dominant outing by the troika of Jack Animam, Gemma Miranda, and Afril Bernardino.
Unlike their first encounter that saw the National University Lady Bulldogs escape the De La Salle University Lady Archers 72-59, the defending champions had their way in their second round showdown, taking a 93-77 rout for their 12th straight win, 44th straight overall, Saturday morning at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
With the win, the Lady Bulldogs are just two games away from their third straight elimination round sweep. On the other hand, the Lady Archers fall to a tie with the UE Lady Warriors for second place with identical 8-3 slates.
The Lady Bulldogs bullied their opponents across the board. They out-rebounded La Salle by a huge margin, 60 to 29, that led to a 35 to 11 edge in the second chance points department. Moreover, NU shot an excellent 47 percent from the field.
“Well, they played hard. Siguro, the Big Three wanted to make a statement,” multi-time UAAP champion coach Patrick Aquino said.
Indeed, the Big Three made a statement this game.
Jack Animam led her team with 25 points on an efficient 12-of-14 shooting clip to go along with 22 rebounds and four swats in the game.
“Now, Jack’s sacrfices are paying off,” Aquino remarked about his power forward. “Natutuwa ako na yung experience niya from FIBA and other international tournaments lumalabas na. Hopefully, magtuloy-tuloy na.”
Miranda and Bernardino also picked-up double-doubles for the second-straight game. Leading MVP candidate Bernardino tallied 21 points and 12 rebounds while Miranda filled-up the stat sheet with 23 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Miranda was also the main instigator during the Lady Bulldogs’ second quarter rally as she scored 12 points during that frame that turned a five-point first quarter lead into a 53-33 lead entering the break.
La Salle’s problems were compounded during the early half of the third canto as Snow Penaranda was thrown off her game after receiving four straight fouls. With NU already up by 20 points, the La Salle forward struggled to contain Bernardo and Animam on the board resulting to two quick fouls that was just five seconds apart. 36 seconds later, Animam was able to draw a charge from a bulldozing Penaranda. Frustrated with the calls, she protested the call resulting to a technical foul with 7:10 left in the quarter for her fourth foul.
Demoralized, the Lady Archers struggled to even put up shots as the Lady Bulldogs’ lead grew to a game-high 31 points, 88-57, after a triple by Bernardino and a basket by foreign student-athlete Rhena Itesi with 6:34 remaining in the game.
“Going into the closing of the elimination, mas masasabi natin na we got to be ready. We’re trying to be ready for the next games,” Aquino said as they enter the final stretch of the season.
Floor general Camille Claro was the high point woman for La Salle with 21 points. Chay Vergara and Joahanna Arciga added 13 and 11 points respectively.
The NU Lady Bulldogs play their penultimate game of the season on Saturday, November 5 against the FEU Lady Tamaraws at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“FEU’s a good team. In the first round, they played us well. We’re going to play all out again,” Aquino said about that game.
The second women’s game of that game day will feature the Lady Archers and the UE Lady Warriors, a game that will break the deadlock they are in right now.
NU (93) – Animam 25, Miranda 23, Bernardino 21, Itesi 10, Ceno 5, Camelo 3, Harada 3, Del Carmen 2, Nabalan 1, Layug 0, Lopez 0, Taneza 0, Malana 0, Rebadulla 0.
DLSU (77) – Claro 21, Vergara 13, Arciga 11, Nunez 10, Roxas 7, Castillo 5, Figueroa 4, Revillosa 2, Penaranda 2, Vela 2, Dagdagan 0, Javier 0.
Quarterscores: 25-20, 53-33, 77-52, 93-77.