BACOLOD , Philippines – UAAP five-peat champion Ateneo struggled past University of San Jose-Recoletos, 56-54, in a poor start to its title-retention drive while La Salle-Taft and University of St. La Salle-Bacolod toppled their rivals in their respective fields to share opening day honors in the Sandugo University Games at the USLS Gym here yesterday.
Gwynne Capacio made good impression in his first game as an Eagle, topscoring with 12 points while Kiefer Ravena and Nico Elorde scored 11 markers apiece to help the new Loyola-based squad escape with the victory.
"This is practically a new and younger team compared to the one that won the five-peat," said acting Ateneo coach Gabby Severino. "We also started our practice only three days ago, that's why we're a little bit rusty."
The La Salle booters, meanwhile, leaned on a Carl Amisola rocket off a superb pass from Nathan Alquiros early in the first half as they stunned reigning NCAA champion San Beda Lions, 1-0, in football competition of the event sponsored by Sandugo at the Pana-ad Park and Complex.
University of the Philippines, on the other hand, leaned on a second half header by rookie right winger Carlos Monfort as it turned back Central Philippine U, 1-0, at the USLS pitch.
The 17-year-old Monfort, son of the late Phl Football Federation secretary-general Chris Monfort, misfired on a kick that hit the goal post but calmly headed in the game-winning goal.
"I didn't lose heart when it hit the post so when the ball came back to me, I didn’t lose time and headed it in," said Monfort, a Sports Science student.
In other basketball games, University of San Agustin trampled Polytechnic University of the Phl, 92-73, while University of the East blasted University of Northern Phl, 112-38.
La Salle-Bacolod also set in motion its bid to keep the women’s volleyball crown as it overpowered St. Benilde, 25-15, 25-19, 25-15, to join Ateneo, Far Eastern U, Lyceum and Santo Tomas in the early lead.
Ateneo downed U of Negros Occidental, 25-16, 25-22, 25-15; FEU smashed Foundation U, 25-9, 25-9, 25-13; University of San Carlos trounced Lyceum, 25-13, 25-13, 23-25, 25-19; and UST waylaid USJR, 25-22, 25-14, 25-19.
In men's volleyball, last year's winner FEU swept Colegio de San Agustin, 25-10, 25-17, 25-18, and UST dumped Foundation U, 25-22, 25-18, 23-25, 25-12.
UniGames notes: Philippine Olympic Committee chair Monico Puentevella, who watched some basketball games, said he’s running in next month’s POC polls as an independent candidate...Ateneo’s team is full of second generation players, including Kiefer Ravena, G-Boy Babilonia, Mikee Cabahug and Gwynne Capacio...San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito graced the opener of the volleyball competitions at the USLS Gym. His mother, San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez is a Bacolod City native.