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Lady Bullpups sweep way to glory

MANILA, Philippines — Local bet National U-Nazareth School survived the 51-point eruption of Naomi Panganiban for the fancied Fil-Am Nation Select Girls 1, 78-73, to reign supreme in the Manila Live Girls Under-19 Championships powered by the Smart-National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) yesterday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Cielo Pagaduan and Alicia Villanueva joined hands with 26 and 18 points, respectively, to anchor the clincher in the Lady Bullpups’ perfect run in the 14-team tourney that featured a bevy of international squads.

NUNS swept the pool play before dominating Joflow Academy in the quarterfinals, 85-45, and Santo Tomas, 88-71, in the Final Four to advance to the Last Dance.

And the Lady Bullpups did not shy away from the challenge from there on even against the Filipino-American stalwarts, standing their ground in the opening salvo before breaking away for a 41-32 lead at the turn.

Fil-Am Nation Select made a run in the third to make it a close duel but NUNS proved to be steadier team down the stretch with Pagaduan and Villanueva holding the fort for the win.

NUNS’ title run in the girls’ division made up for the early exit of the Bullpups in Supreme 16 of the boys’ tilt on an 81-64 defeat at the hands of finalist Fil-Am Nation Select.

Panganiban, despite the defeat, was named the Tournament MVP following her scoring masterclass built on five treys.