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NU thwarts UST to remain perfect, near Final Four berth

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National University jumped on the gates early and once again delivered with the killer instinct to put away University of Santo Tomas, 85-60 Thursday in the UAAP Season 78 women’s basketball tournament at the Blue Eagle Gym.

The defending champions opened the game on a 9-2 run, scoring off UST turnovers. The lead grew to 18-11 momentarily but the Tigresses chipped in slowly behind baskets from Maica Cortes and Bettina Penaflor, 20-18.

The Lady Bulldogs however started to break away from their foes as they closed the second quarter on an 11-2 run highlighted by triples from Trixie Antiquiera to make it 40-25 entering the halftime break.

Not cotented with the gap, NU came out strong in the third quarter with Afril Bernardino being relentless on offense to make it 47-29.

Michelle Larosa scored six straight to cut the deficit down to 35-47 although NU was able to extend the double-digit spread to as high as 26 en route to winning its ninth straight game in the season and remain unscathed.

The Tigresses meanwhile are now in a three-way tie from 3rd to 5th with Ateneo and UE.

NU played minus main playmaker Andrea Tongco who is serving a one-game suspension. She was slapped with a disqualifying foul in their last meeting.

Bernardino led a balanced NU effort with 15 points and 8 rebounds. Animam added 10 points and 11 rebounds.

The NU bench outscored the UST reserves, 45-16 and the Lady Bulldogs posted a 59-45 rebounding edge.

Scores:

NU (85) – Bernardino 15, Animam 10, Gupilan 10, Antiquiera 9, Paig 8, Nabalan 7, Abriam 7, Miranda 6, Sison 5, Harada 3, Reyes 2, Riel 2, Itesi 1, Del Carmen 0, Layug 0.

UST (60) – Isanan 17, Magdaluyo 11, Cortes 11, Larosa 8, Angeles 4, Penaflor 4, Felisarta 2, Pernia 2, Capilit 1, Brillante 0, Gandalla 0, Anies 0, Rivera 0, Jerez 0, Portillo 0, Penus 0.

Quarterscores: 18-14, 40-25, 57-42, 85-60.

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