UP Fighting Maroons 87 – UE Red Warriors 58
Last season, the UP Fighting Maroons opened their campaign with a buzzer-beater to get their first win. This season, they made sure they wouldn’t need any last second heroics over the UE Red Warriors. They dominated the second half of to dominate UE by 29 points. Juan Gomez De Liano led the team with and all-around effort of 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Bright Akhuetie introduced himself to the UAAP with 15 points and 18 rebounds.
The game was tied during the halftime break as the Warriors played smart, disciplined basketball to keep in step with the Maroons. Unfortunately, the dam broke after halftime. The younger Gomez De Liano woke up in the third quarter and led his team to a double digit lead. He orchestrated the offense and attacked the rim intelligently. In the fourth period it was Jun Manzo’s turn to lead a run. UP went on a 20-4 blast to build a huge lead. That was more than enough to hold off UE.
UP shot an efficient 48% from the field. They also dominated the rebounding battle with 53 rebounds to UE’s 35. Their defense held steady in the second half. UE’s offense sputtered in the final two quarters and finished shooting only 32%.
NU Bulldogs 75 – UST Growling Tigers 70
The Ildefonso era of the NU Bulldogs got of to a roaring start. The two sons of NU legend Danny Ildefonso led the team to a season-opening win over the UST Growling Tigers. Rookie Dave Ildefonso showcased his skills to score 19 points and grab seven boards. Older brother Shaun had a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds.
It was a rough start for both teams as neither could get their offense flowing smoothly. The two teams relied on their blue chip rookies for production. Dave led NU with 10 points he scored in the second quarter to lead his team to a five-point lead. CJ Cansino also scored 10 points in the first half to keep UST within striking distance. Cansino finished with 20 points to lead the Tigers.
In the third period, Shaun stopped mucking around and powered his way in the paint. He led the Bulldogs with all of his 10 points in the period, outscoring the Tigers in the third quarter. With the Ildefonsos leading the way NU was able to build a 17-point lead heading into the final period.
UST wouldn’t go away quietly. Cansino teamed up with Renzo Subido and Steve Akomo in the fourth period to chip away t NU’s lead. They were able to cut the deficit down to just four points in the final minutes of the game. But The Bulldogs defense held steady. John Lloyd Clemente got loose for a breakaway layup to seal the win for NU.