MANILA – Colegio de San Juan de Letran and National University (NU) were off to a good start in the 2022 Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup on Wednesday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.
The NCAA champion Letran flexed its muscle against Jose Rizal University (JRU) with a rousing 79-66 rout behind the efforts of Kobe Bryant Monje, Pao Javillonar, and Ira Bataller.
The Knights dominated inside with a 52-24 edge in points in the paint and a 21-13 edge in second-chance points.
Letran was only up by one, 34-33, at halftime but it opened the floodgates with a 27-9 third quarter with Monje spearheading the attack, firing six of his 16 points in the quarter for a 60-41 advantage in their favor.
The Heavy Bombers last threatened at the 1:27 mark of the final frame courtesy of back-to-back threes from Jason Celis to make it 63-72. But Fran Yu halted their run with a short stab.
"Thankful akong makalaro ulit kasi galing ako sa sakit," Yu said after beating COVID-19. "Nung pinasok ako nung dulo, ginusto ko lang suklian 'yung binigay na tiwala sa akin nila coach to finish the game."
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs also made their presence felt in Group A following a 78-64 demolition of Arellano University.
Captain John Lloyd Clemente led four Bulldogs in double-digits with 13 points on top of five rebounds and three assists, while Mike Malonzo pounded in a 12-marker, 12-board double-double.
Steve Nash Enriquez also impressed with 11 points and five rebounds in his first start, replacing Janjan Felicilda, who transferred to University of the Philippines.
"We still have a long way to go. Malayo pa kami talaga sa peak e. Bagong generation ulit ang lineup, pero at least, sure akong 'yung mga nandito, talagang loyal sa NU," said head coach Jeff Napa after win No. 1 in the tournament.
NU lost two of its key cogs in Felicilda and Reyland Torres who are now both in UP.
Cade Flores fronted the effort for the Chiefs with 14 points, eight rebounds, and four assists, while Axel Doromal chimed in 13 markers. They remain winless after two outings.
The Heavy Bombers sport the same record over in Group B, even after 14 points each from Celis, Agem Miranda, and Ry Dela Rosa.
NU 78 -- Clemente 13, Malonzo 12, Enriquez 11, Casinillo 10, Minerva 10, Mahinay 9, John 9, Manansala 4, Galinato 0, Padrones 0, Tibayan 0, Ramos 0, Libang 0, Gloria 0, Crisostomo 0
ARELLANO 64 -- Flores 14, Doromal 13, Mantua 8, Mallari 7, Menina 7, Valencia 4, Lustina 4, Oftana 3, Tolentino 2, Balo 2, Talampas 0, Mamaradio 0
Quarters: 19-14, 34-36, 53-50, 78-64
LETRAN 79 -- Monje 16, Javillonar 11, Yu 10, Paraiso 10, Bataller 9, Reyson 7, Sangalang 6, Caralipio 2, Tolentino 2, Ariar 2, Lantaya 2, Go 2, Guarino 0, Gaviola 0
JRU 66 -- Celis 14, Miranda 14, Dela Rosa 14, Sy 9, Arenal 4, De Leon 4, Guiab 4, Medina 2, Tan 1, Gonzales 0, Delos Santos 0, Villarin 0, Bongay 0, Abaoag 0
Quarters: 9-13, 33-32, 60-41, 79-66