Villanova Parade

Photo credit: Holli Stephens

City Celebrates Villanova's National Championship With Parade

April 05, 2018 - 1:32 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Nova Nation took over Center City Thursday to celebrate the Wildcats' NCAA National Championship.

Big crowds lined both sides of Market Street to get a glimpse of the championship team. Smiling players tossed tee shirts to the fans and took turns holding the trophy high as they rode an open air bus from 20th Street to City Hall. 

For some, it was family affair. Sean and Mary Jo Bellew brought their five children to the parade.

"We were married at Villanova, these guys were all baptized there," Sean said. "It's our parish, it's our school and we're so happy for the victory."

It was parade number three for Lisa Weber.

"My heart is pounding all over again," she said. "I never thought I'd see it three times in my lifetime. It's amazing, they make us so proud."

It was a celebration that won't soon be forgotten. The victory party cuminated in a rally at Dilworth Park, outside City Hall.

"To finish it here in Philly, at City Hall, with this crowd, I don't think it could have ended any better," said head coach Jay Wright.

The Wildcats claimed their second national title in three years after a 79-62 win over the Michigan Wolverines on Monday night. Three days later, the team soaked up every moment of the celebration along victory road. Wright says his squad enjoyed the trip down Market Street just as much, if not more, than the thousands of screaming fans.

"Philly does love a parade," the coach said. "I think Philly is getting used to this. I think we're getting used to being winners."

It was the second championship parade for the city in two months. Millions of Eagles fans lined up along Broad Street and flooded the Ben Franklin Parkway in February to be part of Philadelphia's first-ever Super Bowl parade.

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The rally resembled the one in 2016, with Coach Wright and members of the team addressing the crowd.

Sophomore guard Dante DiVincenzo was the hero of the championship game. He said he is thankful for all the support from Nova Nation.

"Awesome, honestly. When I have a bad game, they always pick me up. Good game, they keep me on the high horse," DiVincenzo said. "And it's truly unbelieveable because no matter what, they are always behind me."

National Player of the Year, Jalen Brunson, agreed. He said the fans been with the team every step of the way on this title trek.

"It's so cool, because you know how hard you worked just to see things like this happen," Brunson said, "not really focusing on these things in the beginning, seeing it happen at the end is really cool."

Two titles in three years is an incredible accomplishment, and Brunson was unable to decide which championship means more to the team.

"Just to experience this twice is something special," he said.