NATIONAL University got its act together late to post an 80-60 victory over Far Eastern University on Wednesday in the UAAP Season 82 women's basketball tournament at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Jack Animam scored six of her 17 points in a 28-10 run in the payoff period as the Lady Bulldogs extended their winning run to 81 games. She also grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out three assists in a match of last year’s finalists.
The score, however, doesn’t paint the full picture for NU, which stared at a 48-43 deficit with four minutes remaining in the third frame.
"Our players are still hesitant," rued coach Pat Aquino. "We're coming up with a new system and they're still hesitant with that, but I just told them to play as hard as you can and everything will follow. That's what happened."
From a tight 54-52 lead in the final nine minutes of the game, the Lady Bulldogs scored eight straight points to grab a 62-52 advantage with 5:13 remaining before running away with the victory.
"It was a hard win, rusty probably, overconfident, but the thing is we have to play double time against FEU," said Aquino.
Congolese center Rhena Itesi added 16 points, six boards and three assists.
Angel Surada chipped in 10 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals, while fellow rookie Camille Clarin had 10 points, three boards and three dimes.
Fil-Am forward Kelli Hayes also made a solid with four points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists for the six-peat-seeking NU.
Clare Castro had a 24-point, 10-rebound and five-block performance, but only scored four in the final period for FEU.
Valerie Mamaril chipped in 16 points and two boards, as Jay Delos Santos had 10 points and four rebounds.
NU 80 - Animam 17, Itesi 16, Surada 10, Clarin 10, Bartolo 8, Pingol 6, Del Carmen 5, Hayes 4, Canuto 4, Harada 0, Fabruada 0, Cacho 0, Cac 0.
FEU 60 - Castro 24, Mamaril 16, Delos Santos 10, Quiapo 4, Jumuad 4, Bahuyan 2, Vidal 0, Padayon 0, Adriano 0, Bastatas 0, Antiola 0.
Quarterscores: 16-17; 22-25; 52-50; 80-60.