THE National University Lady Bulldogs women’s basketball team continues to show deadly form in its four-game tune-up series in Taiwan.
Less than 20 hours after a lopsided win over the Fu Jen Catholic University, the Lady Bulldogs turned back Taiwan's 11th-ranked team Shieh Chien University, 76-72, to keep a clean 2-0 slate in the tour.
Up against a taller, shiftier Shieh Chien side, the Lady Bulldogs had to rely on its new found endgame poise, which was clearly lacking when they lost to the Dela Salle Lady Archers in the UAAP Finals last season.
NU, supported by Ever Bilena Cosmetics and SM Malls, led by as much as 14 points behind the heroics of Afril Bernardino, Sam Paig, CJ Seno and Gemma Miranda.
But a fourth-quarter assault saw the Shieh Chien cagebelles wrest the lead by one point, 71-70, in the final 22.3 seconds of the game.
A putback by Miranda off the missed free throw by Bernardino gave NU the lead back with just 19.5 ticks left before Bernardino sealed the win with a fastbreak basket after a three-point miss by the hosts.
“Medyo nangapa po kami sa umpisa, lalo na sa first half. Masyado po kasing malamig dito,” said Miranda while complaining of chill that hit 16 degress Celcius weather in the open air venue.
“Pero nung pinawisan po kami, dun na kami nakakuha ng porma. Kaso sa endgame, talagang malakas po yung kalaban, lalo yung outside shooting nila. Kaya nakadikit, may crowd support din po kasi sila,” added the UAAP season 76 Rookie of the Year.
National University will next face Taiwan’s second-rated women’s team, Chinese Culture University, on Thursday before they wrap up their friendlies on Orchid Island on Friday.
“We just want to prepare them hard. Pressure is really for us to improve our finish from last time,” said Johnson Martines, team manager.
“Atleast we can see the girls improving. Last season kasi batang-bata pa ang team. But with this Taiwan trip, they’ve learned to be tougher,” he added.