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Aquino admits UE made them work hard after NU nabs four-peat

With Miranda and Bernardino gone, coach Patrick Aquino knew that it will be up to Ria Nabalan and co. to deliver the fourth straight title to NU. And they did. Michael Joseph Romero/Dugout Philippines
By Kevin Estrada

QUEZON CITY -- For Patrick Aquino, National U's fourth consecutive UAAP Women's Basketball plum was special not just to him, but also to his players.

However,  it was done the hard way as the mentor was quick to praise to University of the East as they won it all without any star power to their lineup.

"I'm so happy with the girls. They never let down, still andun pa rin sila, lumalaban until the end of the game," he said Sunday afternoon after coming back from a dozen points down to take down the Lady Warriors in Game 2 of the finals at the Araneta Coliseum.

With the players chanting "Walwal na!" (Let's get drunk!) reverberating under the historic Dome, it capped off the hardest sweep that the Lady Bulldogs have achieved, with the Lady Warriors almost scared them on opening day when they were pushed to the limit in overtime.

"Probably. The thing is  from the start, it's a new team, without identity," he then added, noting that the graduation of Gemma Miranda and Afril Bernardino made their title defense a little bit harder, winning five of those games by less than 20 points as both UE and Ateneo put up spirited performances.

"Talagang pinaghandaan kami masyado ng UE," Aquino said to their counterparts who pushed them to the limit in game two, as they were behind in the first three quarters for the very first time this year. "Credit to them, they played exceptionally well."

Jack Danielle Animam echoed his thoughts as she stressed the importance of collective leadership, with Trixie Antiquiera's shooting in the title series proves that there is no I in a team.

"Like what ate Trixie says: Tinrabaho talaga namin ito. Sa lahat ng mga haters namin, eto kami ngayon! Champion for the fourth time, 64-0!," exclaimed the regular season MVP.

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada