FEU Tamaraws 68 – DLSU Green Archers 61
The FEU Tamaraws opened their season on a high note. They charged past the La Salle Green Archers in the fourth quarter with a strong showing from their young stars, Arvin Tolentino, Jasper Parker and Hubert Cani. The three Tams teamed up for a 7-0 run in the final minutes to pull away from the Green Archers. Tolentino led the balanced Tamaraw attack with 13 points and two treys.
It was a rough start from both teams. The Tamaraws and Green Archers struggled to find the bottom of the net in the first half. Both teams combined for only 51 points in the first half, and shot below 33%. Neither team could pull away from the other as their shots weren’t falling. Early in the second half, La Salle was able to build some momentum. Baltazar scored on back-to-back baskets off great passes from his guards. The Green Archers briefly pulled away but the Tamaraws fought back to keep the game close heading into the final period.
Santillan scored late in the final period to give La Salle a one-point lead. But that was the last time they would be in the driver’s seat. The FEU Tamaraws went on a final blitz to close the game. Arvin Tolentino scored on a booming triple from the top of the key to push FEU ahead. Parker and Cani added two straight hits to extend the lead to six points. That was enough of a cushion to seal the win.
AdU Soaring Falcons 74 – ADMU Blue Eagles 70
The Adamson Soaring Falcons sent a message to the rest of the UAAP. Don’t sleep on us. They soared higher than the preseason favorites Ateneo Blue Eagles to open Season 81 with a bang. Jerrick Ahanmisi exploded in the second half to lead the team with 23 points and four treys. Vince Magbuhos added a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double.
The highly-touted Blue Eagles looked poised to get a win early in the game. They went on a 9-0 run to open the second quarter behind the strong play of Thirdy Ravena and Aaron Black. Ateneo held a 10-point lead near the end of the half and had a strangle-hold on momentum. The Falcons went on a scoring blitz to steal the lead from the Eagles. They went on an 11-0 run capped by Ahanmisi’s half-court heave to take a one-point lead heading into the half.
That run gave Adamson momentum heading into the second half. The Falcons took control of the game at that point. Their pesky, physical defense prevented the Blue Eagles from getting into an offensive rhythm. To make matters worse, Ahanmisi’s buzzer-beater got his offensive juices flowing. He scored eight of his team’s 15 points in the third period to give the Falcons a seven-point lead midway through the period.
In the final quarter, Matt Nieto tried to tow Ateneo back into the game. The point guard repeatedly got to the line to put points on the board for the struggling Eagles. The game was tied at 68 with less than two minutes left. Off a timeout, the Falcons got the ball into the hands of Ahanmisi. Ravena answered with a put-back dunk to tie the game with under a minute left. But the Blue Eagles defense failed them in the final seconds. Papi Sarr got a crucial offensive rebound and scored inside to give the Falcons the lead back. Sean Manganti secured the stunning win with two free throws in the final seconds of the game.