NATIONAL University showed its readiness for the coming UAAP season by downing Ateneo, 79-66, even as Hope Christian High School beat longtime rival Chiang Kai Shek College to jumpstart their respective title bids in the 2nd PCABL Jumbo Plastic Linoleum Cup on Saturday at the Philippine Buddhacare Academy gym in Quezon City.
After a slow start, the Bullpups’ shooting came alive in the final half, coming through with one big spurt to shatter a 33-all count and defeat the reigning UAAP champions for the second straight time since their semis duel in the Freego Cup last month.
Justin Baltazar and Carl Penano led NU’s balanced attack with 21 and 20 points, respectively, as the Bullpups once again installed themselves as the team to beat in the UAAP tournament.
Former PH Under-17 team standout Jolo Mendoza led all scorers with 23 points highlighted by two triples, but his efforts went down the drain as no other Ateneo player scored in double figures in the tournament presented by Smart Telecom, Advance Solutions Inc., Hapee Toothpaste, Fed Seal, Powerhouse, CW Home Depot, and Powerbest Marketing.
Hope Christian, on the other hand, leaned on the 26-point performance of Harvey Pagsanjan to outlast Tiong Lian rival Chiang Kai Shek College, 72-63.
Pagsanjan was ably supported by Mac Jacob (17 points) and Marvel Jimenez (15) as Hope Christian also bucked a cold start to prevail.
Other opening day winners were University of the East, which crushed Letran, 84-63, and Far Eastern University, which outlasted University of the Philippines Integrated School, 80-78.
Globalport star Terrence Romeo and Jumbo Plastic Linoleum COO Jefferson dela Cruz graced the opening ceremony with Romeo making the ceremonial toss.