NATIONAL University held steadier in the payoff period to beat University of the East, 79-68, and annex its fourth consecutive championship without a loss on Sunday in the UAAP Season 80 women’s basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Lady Warriors, who were beaten badly, 61-89, in last Wednesday’s opener, gave the Lady Bulldogs everything to handle, leading by as much as 12 points and were ahead, 58-52, on a Eunique Chan undergoal stab with 8:18 remaining.
With the game hanging in the balance, NU turned to Congolese center Rhena Itesi, who threw her weight in the middle by scoring 11 of her 15 points in the final eight minutes of play to frustrate UE.
The Lady Bulldogs extended their winning streak to 64 games and coach Pat Aquino praised the Lady Warriors being a worthy opponent all-season long.
Graduating shooter Trixie Antiquiera followed up her 30-point outburst in Game 1 by dropping 18 of her 19 points from the three-point zone to capture the Finals MVP honors.
Itesi also pulled down 13 rebounds, Ria Nabalan scored 14 points while season MVP Jack Danielle Animam grabbed 23 boards on top of nine points, four assists and three steals for NU.
Ruthlaine Tacula produced huge numbers of 25 points, 12 rebounds and five assists while Eunique Chan added 19 markers for the Lady Warriors.
NU (79) – Antiquiera 19, Itesi 15, Nabalan 14, Animam 9, Sison 7, Harada 7, Del Carmen 6, Ano-os 2, Camelo 0, Cacho 0.
UE (68) – Tacula 25, Chan 19, Francisco 6, Sto. Domingo 5, Requiron 5, Ramos 4, Cortizano 2, Gayacao 2.
Quarterscores: 13-16, 33-35, 51-54, 79-68