NATIONAL University shook off its poor start to deal University of the Philippines a 56-point humiliation, 97-41, on Tuesday in the UAAP Season 81 women's basketball tournament at Blue Eagle Gym.
Trailing, 13-18, after the first 10 minutes, the Lady Bulldogs went to work and put the game away in the second quarter, holding the Lady Maroons to just seven points to take a 45-25 halftime edge.
It was Melody Cac's turn to lead the attack for NU, scoring 17 points and pulling down two rebounds as the Lady Bulldogs notched victory No. 77 and are one win away from a fifth straight elimination-round sweep.
The game also allowed coach Patrick Aquino to give his bench players some much needed experience heading into another title defense.
"I have to give them time," the multi-titled mentor said. "The potential is not yet there, but I hope the more games we play, they can make it up and show why they're here in NU."
Reigning MVP Jack Animam inflicted damage with 15 points and 12 rebounds, as Ria Nabalan collected 13 points, six boards and four assists for the Lady Bulldogs.
Rhena Itesi had 10 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks, while Princess Fabruada had six points and 10 boards.
Lourdes Ordoveza dropped 11 points for the cellar-dwelling UP as it fell to 0-13 for the season and suffered its 29th straight defeat.
NU 97 — Cac 17, Animam 15, Nabalan 13, Itesi 10, Fabruada 6, Bartolo 6, Pingol 6, Cacho 5, Harada 4, Canuto 3, Camelo 3, Ceno 3, Layug 3, Del Carmen 2, Goto 1.
UP 41 — L. Ordoveza 11, Ferrer 8, Cruz 7, Gonzales 4, Rodas 3, Bascon 3, Medina 2, Rivera 2, Larrosa 1, Amar 0, Moa 0, Hidalgo 0, De Leon 0, Lebico 0, C. Ordoveza 0.
Quarterscores: 13-18; 45-25; 74-35; 97-41.