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Continued dominance: NU Lady Bulldogs claim fifth straight UAAP title

The NU Lady Bulldogs captured the UAAP women's basketball title for the fifth season in a row. Charmie Lising

National University's supremacy in UAAP women's basketball continues.

The NU Lady Bulldogs claimed their fifth straight championship after taking down the FEU Lady Tamaraws, 67-61, in Game 2 of the UAAP Season 81 finals Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The invincible Lady Bulldogs are now undefeated for five seasons with a historic winning streak of 80-0.

"Wow, amazing," said NU head coach Pat Aquino after the victory. "Winning a fifth championship and 80-0 is amazing, and I'm just happy to be part of it and I hope we can continue."

Finals MVP Jack Animam led the charge with 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting, 21 rebounds, four blocks, and two assists.

Rhena Itesi also finished with a double-double outing of 17 points and 10 boards, while graduating skipper Ria Nabalan added 11 points, three rebounds, and three assists.

The Lady Tamaraws made a late run with Elaisa Adriano hitting crucial three-pointers, but NU showcased its championship composure down the stretch to seal the title.

The last five years saw the Lady Bulldogs dominate their opponents in the championship series with double-digit sweeps. This year, however, they had to battle a tough FEU squad that forced them to their lowest average winning margin of nine points.

"I credit FEU, the coaching staff and the players of course, for bringing out the best in us," said Aquino. "They really prepared well, they won't reach the championship if they don't deserve it and they really deserve to be here. Maybe I have to get ready for them next year."

THE SCORES

NU 67 -- Itesi 17, Animam 15, Nabalan 11, Pingol 8, Camelo 8, Del Carmen 7, Canuto 1, Fabruada 0, Layug 0, Cacho 0, Goto 0.

FEU 61 -- Quiapo 15, Adriano 9, Mamaril 8, Bahuyan 7, Castro 6, Taguiam 6, Antiola 6, Bastatas 2, Payadon 2, Vidal 0.

Quarters: 18-16, 41-25, 54-44, 67-61.

EXTRA DRIBBLES

- Ria Nabalan and Jhianne Layug ended their five-year UAAP careers without a single loss.

- Coach Pat Aquino matched the five-peat record of former Ateneo Blue Eagles coach Norman Black. Only Baby Dalupan has a longer streak of seven straight titles and 12 overall in his 17-year coaching stint with the UE Red Warriors from 1955 to 1972.