THE Prime Asia Lending-University of the Visayas Green Lancers kicked off their title-retention bid on a promising note as they blew out the Gaisano Capital South-University of Cebu, 80-57, in the Enervon-Cesafi Partner's Cup at the Cebu Coliseum.
What started as a nip-and-tuck game in the first half quickly became terribly one-sided when the Lancers asserted their might in the third canto and outscored the Webmasters 29-14.
Steve Akomo, the 6-foot-7 Cameroonian, fueled the assault by scoring all nine of his points on a barrage of inside baskets.
Angelo Babia topcored for Prime Asia with 13 points while Franz Arong and Alfred Codilla each added 10.
The Lancers are gearing up for another title run in the Cesafi. UV, which last won the title in 2009, came close last year before melting in Game Five of the Finals and losing to Southwestern University.
In the second game, the Lion Tiger Katol-University of Southern Philippines Foundation Panthers stunned the Raphael's Sports Bar-University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars, 63-57.
The Jaguars appeared to be in control in the early goings as they led, 21-8, but the Panthers refused to let up and took the upper hand, 34-23, at halftime behind the 12 second-period points of Gen Nudalo.
Raphael's came storming back in the final stretch and momentarily grabbed the lead back at 55-53 after a three by former Ateneo de Cebu ace Rendell Senining.
But Lion Tiger kept its composure and took the lead for good with a run capped off a backbreaking trey by Keith Virtuzio for a 60-57 lead with 46.5 seconds left.
Nudalo paced the winners with 13 while Senining showed that he belonged in the collegiate level by scoring 20.