By Jerome Lagunzad
Three-time defending champion National University inched closer towards another elimination round sweep while host Far Eastern University clinched the last Final Four ticket yesterday in the UAAP women’s basketball tournament.
Homegrown center Jack Animam dominated anew with 14 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks while three other teammates scored at least 10 points as the Lady Bulldogs proved too strong for semis-bound University of Santo Tomas, 79-58.
It was the 13th straight victory for this season – and 61st overall since 2014 – for NU, which put itself on the cusp of a fourth consecutive outright finals berth, with second-running University of the East serving as the final stumbling block on Saturday.
“I’m proud of them because they played hard,” said NU coach Pat Aquino, who returned from a one-game suspension.
“Hopefully in our last game against UE, we play better. We know that they’re getting ready for us so we need to be more ready against them.”
Sharing the day’s spotlight with the Lady Bulldogs were the Lady Tamaraws, who formally clinched the fourth and final semis spot after the Lady Warriors foiled the Adamson Lady Falcons, 70-51, earlier at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Ruthlaine Tacula (13 points and 12 assists) and Love Sto. Domingo (11 points and 10 rebounds) produced double-doubles each as UE streaked to its sixth straight win and 11th overall in 13 matches, priming itself up for its big battle against NU.