Eight-peat-seeking National University exacted vengeance on first round tormentor University of the Philippines, 81-59, to enter the UAAP Season 86 Women's Basketball Final Four on an 11-game winning streak, Saturday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
The Lady Bulldogs, who hold a twice-to-beat edge in the semifinals against fourth-ranked Ateneo Blue Eagles, finished the elimination round with a 13-1 record.
The victory was also a perfect revenge for NU, which suffered its only loss of the eliminations to UP with a 72-69 defeat on October 8. The Lady Bulldogs denied the Fighting Maroons a chance for a playoff incentive against the UST Growling Tigresses.
The Final Four schedule will be announced after the men’s games on Sunday.
"We talked about momentum and that was really the goal today for our team, to have some momentum going towards the Final Four and I thought the players and coaches were locked in on what we're trying to do today," said second-year NU head coach Aris Dimaunahan.
The Lady Bulldogs, who were ahead by just two at the half, turned the game into their favor with a huge third frame, converting 19 points while holding the Fighting Maroons to just eight points for a 60-47 lead
Then NU just continued pounding, opening the payoff period strong through the contributions of Marylene Solis, Angel Surada, Jainaba Konateh, and Stef Berberabe to open up a commanding 71-52 advantage with 6:24 left.
"Pinagtatrabahuhan naman namin ito every day sa training. Possession per possession kahit may nagkakamali walang bumibitaw sa amin," said Maymay Canuto, who tallied 16 points and six rebounds.
Konateh, a 19-year-old Gambian big, finished with 12 points and seven rebounds, while Ann Pingol and Aloha Betanio produced 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Camille Clarin displayed her court vision with nine assists to go with eight points, while Surada showcased her rebounding prowess with 11 along with eight points as well.
Louna Ozar top-scored for UP with 14 points with five assists, while Favour Onoh contributed an all-around line of 10 points, 15 rebounds, and six blocks.
Kaye Pesquera supplied 10 points while Achrissa Maw continued her good showing with nine points and 10 rebounds.
NU 81 – Canuto 16, Konateh 12, Pingol 11, Betanio 10, Clarin 8, Surada 8, Solis 7, Berberabe 6, Cayabyab 3, Bartolo 0, Fabruada 0.
UP 59 – Ozar 14, Onoh 10, Pesquera 10, Maw 9, Sanchez 8, Domingo 3, Vingno 3, Bariquit 2, Lozada 0, Tapawan 0, Godez 0, Jimenez 0.
Quarterscores: 18-23, 41-39, 60-47, 81-59
UAAP Season 86 Women's Basketball Final Four
**NU 13 1
**UST 11 3
*UP 10 4
*Ateneo 8 6
DLSU 6 7
AdU 3 10
FEU 3 10
UE 0 13
Games today (Sunday)
(Mall of Asia Arena)
9 a.m. – AdU vs FEU (Women)
11 a.m. – DLSU vs UE (Women)
2 p.m. – AdU vs UE (Men)
4 p.m. – UP vs NU (Men