NEWCOMER Philippine Merchant Marine School, Feati and St. Dominic College of Asia won their respective matches on Wednesday to open the 4th Interscholastic Athletic Association basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
PMMS drew 22 points from Sany Trinidad to defeat defending champion Technological Institute of the Philippines, 69-62, while FEATI squeezed past Philippine Women's University, 65-63, after a 19-point performance by Kenneth Malilim.
In the opener, Cherwin Klein Lao dazzled in the third quarter as St Dominic downed Manila Tytana Colleges, 80-75.
Earlier, PBA star Kerby Raymundo took part in the ceremonial toss after a lively opening festivity to usher in the new season of the collegiate league backed by Molten and Mikasa of Sonia Trading, Globe and Abot Kaya Corporation.
Elmar Moradas scored 13 points and Dhon Reverente chipped in 10 as the PMMS Mariners scored a rousing start in their league debut at the expense of the back-to-back seeking TIP Engineers.
The FEATI Seahawks, meanwhile, also got 11 points from Leo Patian and 10 markers from James Monsale to down the stubborn PWU Patriots.
Martin Benedict Frani and Josiah Fordan fired 18 and 17 points, respectively, as the St Dominic Red Pikes repulsed the repeated comebacks of the MTC Titans.
La Consolacion College-Manila took a bye but will troop to the floor for the first time next week when the league begins its regular twice-a-week playdates.
The top two teams after the six-game classification round schedule gain outright semifinal berths while the remaining squads dispute the two other slots in a step-ladder format.