National University’s Karl Pingol (UAAP Media)


National University is one win away from carving a huge milestone in the UAAP Season 85 women’s basketball tournament after escaping University of Santo Tomas, 78-75, for its 99th straight win on Sunday, Oct. 9, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. 

The six-time defending champion NU answered the challenge of UST, which was its championship rival three years ago, to extend the streak to 99 and improve to 3-0 this season. 

Despite encountering trouble at the finale with 10.7 seconds to spare, the Bulldogs wouldn’t let the Growling Tigresses end their winning run that stretches back from 2014 and instead handed the latter their first loss of the season after two wins. 

“I thought UST, came [with] a lot of fight today, they gave us a hard time today, but again, give credit to our girls or ladies for staying in the game, staying in our system, eventually getting the win. I think this is the first time in the season that a team has outrebounded us. But then again, it’s a win for us, I congratulate the team for grinding it out today, and finally getting our 99th win,” said Bulldogs head coach Aris Dimaunahan. 

But the NU side wouldn’t fall victim to complacency that even thinking about the possibility of 100 wins doesn’t cross its mind as it takes on University of the Philippines on Wednesday, Oct. 12, at the UST Quadricentennial Pavillion. 

“We’ll prepare for that game, obviously. Again, they’re coming off a what? 2-0, two-game winning streak. So again, magpi-prepare kami dun. We cannot overlook any teams here in the UAAP. It’s just a matter of us how we prepare for that next game and you have to respect the game, and we have to respect the opponents, kung sino man ang kalaban. So we’re gonna prepare for our next game and see what happens on Wednesday,” added Dimaunahan. 

Meanwhile, the Maroons refused to let the Bulldogs break another record at their expense heading into the tipoff at 3:00 p.m. 

“I feel that entering that momentous event for NU, for us, there’s always a first time. So, we wouldn’t be on their side celebrating. Obviously, we want to break that record, we’re not gonna enter the court celebrating for them. We would try our best to improve and get better during that game. If we put ourselves in an opportunity to win, we’ll get it. Walang masama kung makapuwing kami,” said UP head coach Paul Ramos. 

“But we know the reality that they’re a powerhouse. We cannot just joke around ‘Oh makapuwing tayo’, no, we have to play our a game in order for us to be at least in a position to win — not win the game, but in a position to win a ball game. So, it’s a big mindset, but again, every game, we’re just happy that we’re gaining momentum.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (