Mapua Institute of Technology and San Beda College defeated their respective rivals in the opening games of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 92 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Saturday.
Last year’s Rookie-Most Valuable Player Allwell Oraeme finished with 24 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks to lead the Cardinals to a 74-71 win over the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers.
Guard Carlos Isit contributed 17 points and five rebounds while Andrew Estrella had 10 points also for the Cardinals.
“There are opening day jitters on our part although I’m glad that we won the opening day,” Mapua coach Atoy Co told reporters during the postgame interview. “I believe we can still improve this performance in our coming games.”
Paolo Pontejos scored 16 points with six rebounds while Teytey Teodoro had 13 points to lead JRU.
In the first game, San Beda College foiled defending champion Letran College’s fightback in the endgame to get away with an 89-85 win behind the explosive performance of Ranbill Tongco and Davon Potts.
Potts notched nine of his 16 points in the fourth quarter. Tongco posted all nine points also in that same quarter to help the Red Lions beat the Knights who defeated them in Game 3 of last year’s finals.
Jayvee Mocon notched 18 points plus six rebounds, Roldan Sara posted 14 points, eight rebounds and three assists while Cameroonian center Donald Tankoua contributed 13 points and 12 rebounds also for the Red Lions.
“We were controlling the entire game but we’ve committed mistakes that they took advantage of. I’m just happy we won on opening night,” said San Beda coach Jamike Jarin during the postgame interview. “Letran is going to be a force to reckon with this season because they only lost two players.”
Jarin was referring to playmaker Mark Cruz and Kevin Racal, who are now playing as pros in the Philippine Basketball Association. Letran’s former mentor Aldin Ayo, meanwhile, was signed as coach by the De La Salle University in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines.
The Red Lions will no longer have this season Nigerian Ola Adeogun, Baser Amer, Arthur Dela Cruz and Ryusei Koga.
John Quinto posted a game-high 23 points, while Rey Nambatac finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists to lead the Knights.
Also during the opening ceremonies, the NCAA honored the late basketball great Carlos Loyzaga. San Beda retired the No.14 jersey that Loyzaga used during his days with the Lions in 1950s during the event.
Loyzaga’s children Chito, Joey, Teresa and Bing as well as NCAA President and San Beda Rector Fr. Aloysius Maranan, OSB were present during the ceremony.