By Ivan Saldajeno
SAN JUAN, Ilocos Sur--CALABARZON began its road to redemption in the Palarong Pambansa secondary basketball tournament with a 30-point rout of Zamboanga, 82-52, in the very first game of the tournament at the San Juan Municipal Gym on Monday.
With one reinforcement joining NCAA juniors stronghold San Beda-Taytay this time around, the team from Region 4-A quickly turned the match into a rout in just one quarter, outscoring the Region 9 boys, 28-8, in the opening period and never looking back.
NU, representing NCR, also made quick work of Eastern Visayas, 86-51, later in the day to begin its title defense.
The Bullpups broke away from a close start by limiting the Golden Stingers to 13 or less in each of the last three periods.
Meanwhile, a high-scoring encounter between Central Luzon and SOCCSKSARGEN ended up with the former winning, 99-96.
It was actually a game of quarterly brilliance as Central Luzon, banked on a core of Pampangueño players, blasted off in the first quarter with a 36-point output while limiting SOCCSKSARGEN to just nine in the third quarter.
SOCCSKSARGEN, which outscored Central Luzon, 26-19, in the second quarter to go up, 57-55, by halftime, actually had a fine showing in the fourth quarter, but it still fell short.
On the other hand, Cagayan Valley posted the first upset of the tournament after downing last year's runner-up Tay Tung, 68-63.
MJ Joson's 16-point output, which included a two-handed jam in the third quarter to delight the fans, helped the men in green pull the upset against the Thunderbolts, representing Western Visayas.
MIMAROPA played two games on Monday, beating Bicol, 85-76, in the morning game and bowing to Northern Mindanao, 70-78, in the afternoon.
In the main game, Ilocos turned back CARAGA, 83-77.
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