In the end, head coach Patrick Aquino’s absence did not hinder a four-peat seeking National University Lady Bulldogs in the UAAP Season 80 Women’s Basketball Tournament.
Aquino served a one-game suspension after his ejection in NU’s previous game against the Ateneo Lady Eagles, yet the defending champions cruised to a 76-35 victory over the winless University of the Philippines Lady Maroons.
“It was a good win for us. We took this game para mag-improve kami. We did not take UP lightly kahit yung standings nila nasa bottom. I told them hindi yan talaga yung strength nila. I just reminded the girls to take care of business today,” commented NU assistant coach Aris Dimaunahan.
Je-Anne Camelo led NU with 14 points followed by the Lady Bulldogs’ twin towers Jack Animam and Rhena Itesi who tallied 13 and 12 points respectively.
NU virtually sealed the win as early as the first quarter when a Monique Del Carmen lay-up handed the Lady Bulldogs a 24-7 separation from UP at the end of the said period.
“That’s part of the gameplan. That’s part of the culture of the NU Lady Bulldogs, to bring the defense right at the start, setting the tone of the game on the defensive side and by doing that offense comes naturally,” shared Dimaunahan.
The Lady Bulldogs coasted until the final buzzer as their defense prevented any Lady Maroons from scoring at least 10 points. NU achieved its biggest lead in the ballgame at 69-30 thanks to Cherry Ano-os’ drive with six minutes remaining on the clock.
The Lady Bulldogs eventually ended up 76-35 winners after the final buzzer. With the result, the Lady Bulldogs extend their unbeaten run to 60 games.
“That’s part of this game (na) in preparation for this homestretch. Kailangan namin gawin kung ano dapat ang kailangan naming gawin in this game prior towards dun sa homestretch. I think we did a good job playing today and hopefully madala namin yun into the playoffs,” concluded Dimaunahan.
National U (12-0) shall next face University of Santo Tomas at 10:00 AM in the Smart Araneta Coliseum. On the other hand, State U (0-12) hopes to get its first win against Ateneo de Manila University at 9:00 AM in the latter’s Blue Eagle Gym. Both games will be held on November 8.
NU (76) – Camelo 14, Animam 13, Itesi 12, Layug 6, Antiquera 6, Sison 6, Del Carmen 5, Ano-Os 5, Taneza 4, Lopez 2, Harada 2, Cacho 1.
UP (35) – Isip 7, Domingo 7, Pesquera 6, Ordoveza 4, Esplana 3, Ongsiako 3, Lapid 2, Cruz 2, Medina 1, Tan 0, Rodas. 0
Quarterscores: 24-7, 48-11, 64-27, 76-35.