<
>

Lady Bulldogs capture sixth straight title, push win streak to 96

The NU Lady Bulldogs continue to re-write history, capturing their sixth straight championship after defeating the UST Golden Tigresses, 66-54, in Game 2 of the UAAP Season 82 women's basketball finals Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Lady Bulldogs remained undefeated for the sixth consecutive season for an unprecedented 96-0 streak.

"I didn't expect that we would have this run -- six titles in six years without any losses," said NU coach Pat Aquino. "I'm just so happy for the school, for the players who have been here, and for everybody, my coaching staff especially. I'm just happy that I've been part of this. I hope we can do this again."

Graduating players Monique Del Carmen, Kaye Pingol, and Rhena Itesi starred in the Lady Bulldogs' historic win.

Del Carmen took home the Finals MVP honors after averaging 9.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 2.0 steals in the series.

Pingol delivered 15 points on top of five rebounds, two assists, and two steals before hurting her shoulder in the dying minutes Game 2. Itesi added 12 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and three steals.

Unlike in Game 1, NU managed to stay in control from start to finish in the title-clincher. The Tigresses tried to claw back after a strong push in the middle quarters but the Lady Bulldogs re-asserted their dominance in the fourth to bring their lead back up to 20.

A three-point shot from Maymay Canuto extended the gap to 64-40 midway through the final frame before Del Carmen hit NU's last basket in the midst of a 14-2 closing run from the Tigresses.

The team dedicated the championship to star forward Jack Animam, who could not make it back home from New Zealand due to an eye injury that she sustained while representing the Philippines in the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament last week.

"It's really so sad without Jack. I just told myself and my players, 'Let's not take away what Jack missed, let's give this to Jack,'" said Aquino. "Of course, to all my seniors, all the players that have been playing this season, I'm just really thankful and happy."

Reynalyn Ferrer topped for UST with 16 points and six rebounds, while reigning two-time MVP Grace Irebu contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds.

THE SCORES

NU 66 - Pingol 15, Del Carmen 15, Itesi 12, Hayes 9, Cacho 7, Canuto 3, Clarin 3, Surada 2, Bartolo 0, Cac 0, Fabruada 0, Goto 0, Harada 0.

UST 54 - Ferrer 16, Irebu 11, Portillo 7, Soriano 6, Panti 5, Tacatac 4, Callangan 3, Rivera 2, Gandalla 0, Gonzales 0, Javier 0.

Quarterscores: 25-8, 36-23, 46-36, 66-54.

EXTRA DRIBBLES

-- The Lady Bulldogs won by an average of 30.7 points this season.

-- Aside from Del Carmen, Pingol, and Itesi, Jack Animam, Kelli Hayes, and Sam Harada also played their last game for NU.

-- The Lady Bulldogs are 15 games away from equaling the world record streak of 111 wins set by the UConn Huskies. Another 16-0 sweep next season will break the record.