The BBM CLS Knights didn't need an explosive performance from Juan Gomez de Liaño, as they overwhelmed Cambodia, 100-58, in their first game of the ABL Pre-SEA Games Challenge on Tuesday at the Liga Bali Arena.
The former UAAP Rookie of the Year had six points, four assists, three rebounds, and a steal in nearly 23 minutes, while also committing three turnovers.
The Knights raced to a 29-8 lead after the first quarter and were never threatened in the contest. Their lead reached 44 points, 100-56, with a minute and a half to play off a three-pointer by Randy Tyree Bell.
Five players reached double-digits for the Knights, led by Jaywuan Hill with 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Bell had 16 points in the game, as the Knights shot 50% from the field. They now have a 1-0 record in Group A.
Eight teams are competing in the invitational tournament, including Filipino ball clubs Zamboanga Valientes and the MisOr Mustangs. Both Pinoy teams opened their campaigns with losses, however.
The Valientes were crushed, 94-47, by Vietnam in Group B.
They never recovered from a poor start that saw Vietnam take a 29-14 advantage. Rene Cunanan (13 points) and Durexx Diaz (10) both scored in double-digits for Zamboanga, but they shot just 32% from the field.
Vietnam, the hosts of the upcoming Southeast Asian Games, got 21 points from former Harvard University guard Christian Juzang. He also had eight rebounds and seven assists in 28 minutes.
Corey Cilia scored 15 points, as Vietnam torched Zamboanga with 51% shooting from the field. They also had a 46-33 advantage in rebounding.
Another national team, Malaysia, came away with a slim 82-78 win against the MisOr Mustangs.
Two free throws by Mark Doligon brought the Mustangs within two points, 80-78, with still under two minutes left but their offense sputtered from there. Mac Baracael and Doligon both missed opportunities to tie the game, and a turnover by Reil Cervantes forced MisOr to foul.
Wei Yong Ong made two free throws to ice the game in the final minute.
Doligon finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Gabby Espinas also had a double-double of 13 points and 12 boards. Shaq Alanes added 16 markers.
Malaysia, another team that is set to compete in the SEA Games, drew 17 points each from Wong Yi Hou, Ting Chun Hong, and Tem Zhen Jie.
MisOr will be back in action in Group A against Gomez de Liano and the Knights, while Zamboanga will play Singapore on Wednesday.