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NU captures 7th straight UAAP women’s basketball championship

NU Lady Bulldogs’ Kristine Cayabyab. –UAAP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — National University earned its seventh straight UAAP women’s basketball championship as it completed a series sweep of La Salle in the Season 85 Finals with a 76-64 win Game 2 on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.

The Lady Bulldogs’ ‘seven-peat’ tied the longest dynasty in UAAP basketball, matching the record of University of the East men’s basketball team, led by Robert Jaworski, from 1965 to 1971.

NU dominated La Salle right from the get-go as it stretched what was just a 8-7 lead to a 27-11 advantage by unleashing a 19-4 run to end the opening period.

Tin Cayabyab fired 14 of her game-high 18 points in the first half, shooting 3-of-4 from deep as NU led as many as 19 in the second quarter and had a 42-27 spread heading to the break.

Cayabyab, who only scored seven in Game 1, was named as Finals MVP as she also delivered five rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a block in their title-clinching win.

Angel Surada was also instrumental with 10 points, nine rebounds, and three assists. Annick Edimo Ticky chipped in nine points, while Camille Clarin added eight markers and eight boards.

NU mounted its biggest lead of 23 points, 57-34, off Princess Fabruada’s split free throws with 1:50 remaining in the third.

The Lady Archers trimmed it to a 14-point deficit in the fourth period but Clarin nailed a dagger three from the right corner, 70-52, with 4:12 left, followed by Cayabyab’s basket.

NU dominated the team that ended its 108-game winning streak in the second round, 61-57, last November 23.

The Lady Bulldogs remained unstoppable playing in a traditional Final Four format for the first time since 2013, ousting the No.4 seed Ateneo Blue Eagles before dominating the Lady Archers in Finals Game 1, 93-61, last Wednesday.

La Salle settled for silver in its first Finals since 2016, as it leaned on the 29-point explosion of Charmine Torres, who also had seven rebounds and five steals but committed 11 of the team’s 23 turnovers where NU scored 19 from it.

Fina Niantcho Tchuido posted 13 points and 22 rebounds, including 13 offensive boards as she conspired with Torres to lead an eight-woman rotation in the loss.

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