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62 WINS AND COUNTING | NU book Finals return, sweeps elims after repulsing UE

Marching on. NU are back in the UAAP Women's basketball finals for the fifth straight season. (file)
By Kevin Estrada

SAN JUAN -- Mission accomplished.

National University have returned to the UAAP Women's Basketball Finals in the most convincing way possible, teaching UE a quick lesson in total domination with a 63-50 win in the final day of the regular season in the Filoil-Flying V Centre Saturday morning.

The Lady Bulldogs of Patrick Aquino have booked their return to the championship series for the fourth time on the trot as champions and fifth straight overall dating back to 2013, unleashing a third-quarter onslaught that turned a tight game into a wire-to-wire blowout for their fourth consecutive clean sweep of eliminations and won their 62nd consecutive game overall.

NU turned on the heat at the restart, putting the game out of UE's reach with a 22-4 third quarter that turned a close eight-point game into a 26 point blowout that they did not relinquish until the final buzzer.

With the win, it exorcised the horror of opening day two months ago in Ateneo, where the Lady Warriors almost snapped the streak at 48 by forcing them to play five more minutes before the reigning three-time champs escape with a three-point nail biter.

Ria Joy Nabalan lead by example as NU's skipper as she towed them to 14 points, with Trixie Antiquiera and Je Anne Camelo had 11 points each albeit in contrasting fashion on shooting percentages.

However it was the rebounding that separate women from the girls this season, as Jack Danielle Animam and Rhena Itesi outrebounded the entire Lady Warriors just by themselves.

The twin towers of San Marcelino combined for 41 boards as opposed to 31 by the entire UE squad, with the Perlas center doubled the Lady Warriors' offensive rebounding output by herself, en route to 25-rebound game.

Despite seeing their unbeaten run in the season ended at six games, all in the second round, Aileen Libornio's ladies will take pride on making history for their alma mater as they ended the regular season at 11-3 after nabbing the second spot three days ago with a rout against Adamson.

The Scores:

NU 63 -- Nabalan 14, Antiquiera 11, Camelo 11, Sison 10, Itesi 8, Animam 5, Del Carmen 2, Harada 2, Ano-os 0, Cacho 0

UE 50 -- Tacula 14, Requiron 12, Sto. Domingo 10, Chan 9, Ramos 2, Gayacao 2, Francisco 1, Cortizano 0

Quarter scores: 18-11, 30-22, 52-26, 63-50

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada