DILIMAN College launched its three-peat bid on a high note while Centro Escolar University made a stern warning with a 50-point demolition of Guang Ming College in the PG Flex Linoleum-UCBL on Monday at the Paco Arena in Manila.
The Diliman Blue Dragons started strong, wavered a bit before pouring on the heat in the payoff period to score an 81-66 win over opening-day winner University Batangas.
The CEU Scorpions were more ruthless, pounding out a 106-56 victory over newcomer Guang Ming College in the second game of the triple-header.
The Scorpions imposed their might in the shaded lane as they scored 78 points on the way to a blowout win – the largest winning margin so far in the seven-team tournament presented by Vespa.
In the other game, Olivarez College pulled off a thrilling 89-85 win over Philippine Christian University-Dasmariñas to forge a three-way tie for the lead with Diliman and CEU.
Mark Gallano led all scorers with 23 points apart from grabbing 9 rebounds while Edmund dela Cruz added 20 as the Sea Lions likewise made their title aspiration known to everyone.
The Scorpions practically settled the outcome after racing to a commanding a 92-40 advantage by outscoring Guang Ming, 37-5, in the third frame.l
Protecting a slim 58-54 lead going into the final 10 minutes of play, the Blue Dragons went to veteran guard Robbie Mario Darang and John Parista who buried a triple each in a decisive run to build enough cushion which they valiantly protected to win pulling away.
While the timely baskets of Darang and Parista were crucial, it was the game-long brilliance of sophomore Aldrin Ligon that spelled the difference. He posted double-double of 21 points and 10 boards apart from dishing out two assists.
Darang also produced a double-double with 15 points and 10 assists while Parista added 12 as the Blue Dragons handed the Brahmans their first defeat in two games. UB beat Philippine Christian University-Dasmariñas in overtime, 96-90, in the opener last week.
Harold de Guzman led the Brahmans with 14.