MANILA, Philippines – Trixie Antiquera caught fire from beyond the arc to power National University past University of the East, 89-61, in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 80 women’s basketball Finals on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The graduating guard torched the Lady Warriors for 30 points on 11-of-19 shooting, making seven of her 11 three-point attempts.
With the victory, the Lady Bulldogs stretched their winning streak to 63 games since 2014, and are now just one victory away from a fourth consecutive women’s basketball crown.
“It was a good win,” said NU coach Patrick Aquino. “I’m just happy for the girls.”
It was National U’s most comfortable win over UE in Season 80. They eked a 69-66 overtime win in the first round, and won 63-50 in the second round. With Antiquera virtually unstoppable all game long, however, the Lady Bulldogs raced out to a 22-7 lead in the first quarter and never looked back.
They wound up leading by as much as 36 points in the fourth quarter.
“As I’ve said before, the first game was first game jitters for everyone,” said Aquino, noting that NU lost two of its best players – three-time MVP Afril Bernardino and Gemma Miranda – after Season 79.
“I’m proud of them because each single game, merong lumalabas na player na nagte-take over as a leader. Natutuwa ako kasi hindi lang isa, dalawa, minsan tatlo or apat ang nagpe-perform talaga,” he added.
“I’m just happy na nanalo kami, and with that, hopefully we can get the fourth championship.”
Ria Nabalan contributed 16 points, while newly-crowned MVP Jack Animam had 10 points, 17 rebounds, and five blocks for the Lady Bulldogs. NU shot 40% from the field, including 46.15% from beyond the arc.
Three players scored in double digits for the Lady Warriors, including Mythical Five member Love Sto. Domingo who had 17 points and 12 rebounds.
But UE, which survived a testy do-or-die game against University of Sto. Tomas to advance to the Finals, had no solution for the NU defense. They shot only 27.78% from the field, and including only 16 of 60 two-point field goals. Their 23 turnovers also led to 24 points for the Lady Bulldogs.
The Lady Warriors only had eight players available for Game 1, as Marieny Cea, Princess Pedrogosa, and Erica Ebeza were all suspended for their roles in the scuffle that occurred in the closing minutes of their game against UST last week.
Game 2 of the best-of-three Finals is on Sunday.
NU (89) – Antiquera 30, Nabalan 16, Animam 10, Camelo 8, Ano-os 8, Itesi 7, Harada 5, Cacho 3, Dela Carmen 2, Sison 0, Ceno 0, Layug 0, Lopez 0, Tanesa 0.
UE (61) – Sto. Domingo 17, Francisco 12, Cortizano 11, Tacula 9, Chan 6, Gayacao 4, Ramos 2, Antonio 0.
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