Host University of the East pulled off an impressive 80-70 win over University of Santo Tomas to start its campaign with a big bang in Season 98 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippi9nes basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Red Warriors, who missed the Final Four last year with a 5-9 win-loss record, spoiled the return of Growling Tigers head coach Pido Jarencio in the UAAP.
Taking a razor-thin 22-21 at the start of the second quarter, UE went on a 13-1 tear capped by a dunk by Precious Momowei with five minutes and 32 seconds remaining and never looked back.
The Red Warriors tasted their biggest lead at 60-41 after Jack Cruz-Demont drilled a triple with 4:10 minutes remaining in the third quarter.
UE head coach Jack Santiago told his boys to stay sharp against UST with Jarencio at the helm for the Tigers.
“I’m so happy with the outcome of the game. The boys responded very well,” Santiago said.
“I just told them that coach Pido is a veteran coach and that they will come out strong. I just told the boys to not give up and they responded well.”
UE scored 21 easy points from UST’s 20 turnovers.
Rey Remogat tallied a double-double for the Red Warriors with 21 points and 10 assists while Momowei also had a double-double game of his own with 17 points and 15 rebounds.
Two more Red Warriors scored double digits in the game with Cruz-Dumont scoring 16 points while Abdul Sawat firing 15 points.
Nic Cabañero scored 18 points for the unlucky Espana-based squad.
The Tigers are currently on a 14-game losing streak dating back to Season 85 with their last win in the UAAP taking place on 1 October 2022 when they defeated Adamson University, 69-60.
In the second game, National University shocked Ateneo de Manila, 77-64.
Prior to the game, the UAAP had a colorful 20-minute opening ceremony as UE hosts the country’s premier collegiate league for the 10th time.
“We are truly blessed to witness the full on-site conduct of Season 86 of the UAAP on behalf of everyone at the University of the East. This marks the 10th time in UE’s history that we are hosting the UAAP,” UE vice chairman David Chua said.