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Lady Bulldogs zero in on UAAP crown

National University exacted revenge on De La Salle University as it booked a masterful 93-61 victory in Game 1 of their Season 85 University Athletic Association of the Philippines women’s basketball tournament best-of-three finals series on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

After taking easy in the first seven minutes, the Lady Bulldogs flaunted their championship form as they erected a 14-point lead, 46-32, en route to the victory that puts them one win away from their seventh straight UAAP title.

NU has a chance to wrap up the series on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

But what made the victory even sweeter was the fact that the Lady Bulldogs pulled it off at the expense of the Lady Archers – the same team that halted their record-breaking 108-game winning streak.

Lady Bulldogs head coach Aris Dimaunahan, however, stressed that it was just another day at the office for them.

“It’s a short series so our mindset is to win the first game. Their (NU) energy, their focus, the way they moved the ball today was truly awesome,” said Dimaunahan, who banked on Annick Edimo Tiky, Rhocel Bartolo, Mikka Cacho and Tin Cayabyab in mounting that huge second-quarter breakaway.

The Lady Bulldogs sustained their momentum and continued their domination in the third as they knocked down five three-pointes capped by Jayda Villareal’s conversion with only six seconds left to register a comfortable 22-point edge, 69-47.

Then, Villareal and Cacho made one point apiece while Pring Fabruada chipped in two markers to give the Lady Bulldogs their biggest lead at 30 with only seven minutes on the clock, 77-47.

“Our mentality is to play this game the right way. Talking about our three-pointers today it was a huge factor to have a huge distance against La Salle,” said Dimaunahan, whose team made 13 treys compared to La Salle’s two conversions.

Cacho was 5-of-7 from the field to finish with 16 points, four rebounds and three assists while Bartolo had 12 points for the Lady Bulldogs, who drew 10 markers and seven rebounds from Angel Surada.

Fina Niantcho Tchuido, meanwhile, knocked down 18 points and 15 rebounds, while Ameng Torres had 14 points and five rebounds against five turnovers for the Lady Archers.

The Scores:

NU 93 — Cacho 16, Bartolo 12, Surada 10, Clarin 8, Edimo Tiky 8, Cayabyab 7, Pingol 6, Villareal 6, Betanio 5, Solis 5, Fabruada 4, Canuto 3, Dimaunahan 3, Ico 0. Barroquillo 0, Talas 0.

LA SALLE 61 — Niantcho Tchuido 18, Torres 14, Binaohan 11, Sario 9, De La Paz 4, Jimenez 2, Ahmed 2, Arciga 1, Dalisay 0, Castillo 0, Camba 0.

QUARTERS: 24-15, 46-32, 69-47, 93-61.

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