Wellington Saints wallop lackluster Chinese Taipei to open MVP Cup hostilities
Ray Turner breaks free for a two-handed slam. Jerome Ascano

WELLINGTON walloped Chinese Taipei, 108-80, to open hostilities in the MVP Cup on Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The Saints, a top club side from New Zealand, leaned on a balanced effort led by Brook Ruscoe and Ray Turner to score the wire-to-wire victory in the four-team pocket tournament that serves as a vital part of Gilas Pilipinas’ preparations for the Fiba Asia Championship.

Ruscoe and Turner led five Saints in double figures with 25 points each, while playing-coach Kevin Braswell finished with an all-around eight points, 11 assists, four boards, and three steals.

The Saints next face Gilas on Saturday in a rematch of their thrilling Jones Cup match that the Filipino dribblers won, 92-88, in overtime.

The scores:

WELLINGTON 108 – Ruscoe 25, Turner 25, Davis 18, Watkins 14, Edwards 13, Braswell 8, Newton 3, Ekenasio 2, Bloxham 0, Mills 0

CHINESE TAIPEI 80 – Liu 13, Tien 11, Tsai 11, Lu 9, Wu 7, Chen SH 7, Chen SC 5, Hung 5, Chen SN 4, Lin 0

Quarterscores: 31-24, 45-42, 76-60, 108-80

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos