Three-time defending champions National University Lady Bulldogs continue to prove that they are light years ahead of the competition, lambasting the University of the East Lady Warriors, 89-61, in Game One of the UAAP Season 80 Women’s Basketball Finals, Wednesday afternoon at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
This is the Lady Bulldogs’ 63rd straight win. Moreover, NU can secure their fourth straight crown on Sunday, December 3. The venue for the game will either be at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum or the Blue Eagle Gym, depending on the outcome of the Men’s Basketball Finals.
“It was a good win. Again, just happy for the girls, especially for Trixie [Antiquera],” shared Lady Bulldogs head coach Patrick Aquino, “It’s her last playing year and having that game, hindi ko naman masyado ine-expect but at least ngayon lumabas.”
Antiquera, a graduating shooting guard, torched the UE defense all game long, finishing with 30 points on 11-for-19 shooting, spiked by seven triples. The Bacolod native almost outscored all the Lady Warriors in the first half, 19-21.
“Well siguro surprised kasi previously nga ang lamang lang namin, like the overtime game in the first round. Just proud to have Trixie beside me, she had seven three-points, dapat ten yan, stepping lang yung tatlo. What a performance,” praised Aquino.
“Last season ko, pinromise ko sa team ko na all out na to, bibigay ko na lahat ng kaya kong ibigay,” added Antiquera.
NU led by as much as 36 points in the contest, 76-40, after free throws by Monique del Carmen early in the final frame.
All-UAAP team members Ria Nabalan and Jack Animam also had a hand in the win, with Nabalan finishing with 16 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Animam, this season’s Most Valuable Player, added 10 points, 17 rebounds, and five blocks.
“With the MVP getting all those rebounds and Rhena filling up the lanes, it’s so easy for them to take those shots. I hope we can do it again on Sunday,” said Aquino.
UE head coach Aileen Lebornio utilized a short rotation for the game, only fielding eight student-athletes, as Marieny Cea, Princess Pedrogosa, and Erica Ebeza had been slapped with one-game suspensions stemming from their semifinals game against the UST Growling Tigresses.
Love Sto. Domingo, the runner-up to this season’s MVP race, led the Lady Warriors with 17 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, three blocks, and a steal. Joyce Francisco and Christine Cortizano chipped in 12 and 11 points respectively.
Sto. Domingo’s batchmates Ruthlaine Tacula and Eunique Chan were limited to a combined 15 points on a horrid 6-for-24 clip.
NU (89) – Antiquera 30, Nabalan 16, Animam 10, Camelo 8, Ano-os 8, Itesi 7, Harada 5, Cacho 3, Dela Carmen 2, Sison 0, Ceno 0, Layug 0, Lopez 0, Tanesa 0.
UE (61) – Sto. Domingo 17, Francisco 12, Cortizano 11, Tacula 9, Chan 6, Gayacao 4, Ramos 2, Antonio 0.
Quaterscores: 22-7, 43-21, 63-34, 89-61.