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    Nabalan on NU streak: 'Hanggang together kami, walang makakatalo sa amin'

    Oct 27, 2018

    RIA Nabalan has never tasted defeat since starting her collegiate career with National University.

    The shifty guard was in every single one of the Lady Bulldogs' 74 straight victories in the women's cage wars, which now stands as the longest winning streak in any sport in the UAAP.

    But before she was the anchor of the juggernaut that was NU, girls like Afril Bernardino and Gemma Miranda paved the way for her, setting the tone to what is now one of the most awe-inspiring streaks in all sports.

    And it shouldn't come as a surprise that the alumni made sure that the current Lady Bulldogs knew the gravity of the situation before their record-setting feat.

    "Nag-post sila sa Facebook at nag-chat sila sa amin na alagaan ang streak. Sabi nila, 'Pinaghirapan natin yan dati kaya ingatan niyo yan.' Paalala din nila na magiging proud kami dyan para sa future namin," recounted Nabalan, who was hailed as the Rookie of the Year when the streak started back in Season 77.

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    The pressure was mounting, as it should be.

    Winning the last four championships present a beast on its own, but to do it without even tasting one loss? That's unprecedented.

    It's fickle to think that Nabalan, as poise as she has been all season long, doesn't feel the nerves. But rather than taking it all by herself, she knew better to turn that into motivation and share it to her peers.

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    "Inaamin kong pressured ako, kaya kinausap ko isa-isa yung teammates ko," she said. "Bilang captain ball, ako pa ba ang mape-pressure? So shinare ko sa teammates ko, hindi yung pressure, but kinausap ko sila para lumakas yung loob naming lahat."

    With everyone in check, Nabalan anchored the Lady Bulldogs' historic 96-57 conquest of UST on Saturday.

    She uncorked 31 points on a scintillating 7-of-12 shooting from downtown, on top of seven rebounds and six assists to deliver win no. 74, besting the previous mark set by Adamson softball.

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    "Sobrang laking bagay nito kasi history na eh. Naka-break kami ng record. Hindi man forever, pero nasa history books na kami," she said, overcome with emotions for the heights her team has already reached.

    It's easy for the fifth-year guard to hog the spotlight, given that she's been the driving force for NU for the entirety of UAAP Season 81.

    But the Lady Bulldogs don't operate that way, and for Nabalan, the recipe to NU's continuous success is simple.

    "Hindi naman namin magagawa yun kung hindi kami sama-sama," she testified. "Kami, may tiwala kami sa isa't isa at together kami naglalaro. Yung focus namin every game is is manalo and we take it one game at a time."

    No one knows when the streak will end, but Nabalan would be the first to say that after ticking this one off of their checklist, the focus now shifts on the grander goal: championship no. 5.

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    And it all starts again next Saturday against Ateneo as NU eyes to complete another perfect eliminations run.

    "Tapos na ito. Next game naman. Over na, move on na," she said, shifting her attention to the next challenges ahead.

    "Hanggang together kami, walang makakatalo sa amin."

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