FAR EASTERN University-Diliman opened its title-retention bid with a 71-67 conquest of De La Salle-Zobel on Saturday in the UAAP Season 80 juniors basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Center.
LJ Gonzales, RJ Abarrientos and Xyrus Torres, holdovers from last season’s championship team, shone as the Baby Tamaraws survived the closest opening day game.
Goldwyn Monteverde had a winning start as National University began its quest for redemption with a 107-69 rout of University of the East, while Ateneo drew huge game from sophomore center Kai Sotto in an 82-64 dismantling of Adamson.
University of Santo Tomas conquered UP Integrated School, 97-62, to cap the opening day hostilities.
Gonzales, the Season 79 Finals MVP, had a scintillating performance of 16 points, seven assists and six rebounds while Abarrientos and Torres added 11 and 10 points, respectively, for FEU.
Matthew Manalang debuted with 20 points while Rhayyan Amsali had a double-double effort of 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Bullpups.
Sotto produced 24 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks while SJ Belangel chipped in 22 markers for the Blue Eaglets, who placed third last season.
John Cansino delivered the goods for the Tiger Cubs with a 28-point, 11-rebound outing.