TOP-SEED Ateneo began its title bid in the NBTC League National Finals after trouncing New Ormoc City National High School, 98-47, on Monday in their first round affair at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Kai Sotto finished with 15 points, six rebounds, and three blocks against the much-smaller Ormoc squad, the 32nd seed in the tournament.
After the game, players and coaches of the Ormoc squad took turns in posing for photos with the 7-foot-1 Sotto, groomed as the future of Philippine basketball.
Amchel Angeles had 12 points for the Blue Eaglets, who led by as many as 52 points in the game to advance into the Sweet 16.
The Blue Eaglets next face No. 16 AusPinoy after beating defending Division 2 champion Assumption Montessori School-Cagayan De Oro, 86-79.
Danielle Mallari had 21 points and 17 rebounds for AusPinoy.
Jay Hernandez and Jasper Orellano had 13 points each for the New Ormoc NHS Eagles.
In other results, Rosseler Sarias had 19 points, five rebounds, two assists, and three steals as No. 6 Mapua-Malayan defeated Colegio De San Juan De Letran-Bataan, 68-48.
Christian Manaytay had 11 points and eight rebounds as No. 8 Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu defeated No. 25 University of Assumption San Fernando, 82-36.
Damie Cuntapay had 13 points and seven rebounds as No. 10 San Sebastian beat No. 23 Hercor College-Roxas City, 84-54.