By Ivan Saldajeno
PASAY--New Era banked on a solid second quarter to hold off Philippine Christian University, 70-64, at the start of the 18th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities men's basketball season at the Cuneta Astrodome on Tuesday.
The Hunters used a 28-point second quarter blast, including a 12-0 run midway through the period, to open a 43-33 halftime lead, overturning a 15-19 deficit at the end of the first quarter.
New Era then pounced PCU early in the second half, eventually opening an 18-point cushion, 63-45, early in the fourth period.
The Dolphins still threatened the Hunters after going on a 19-4 run capped by an 11-0 blast to draw to within three, 64-67, with 1:36 to play.
PCU had another crack to further inch closer as Jeff Comia misfired a triple in the next play, but Julan Palattao had his pass off a rebound stolen by Robert De Guzman.
However, New Era kept the door open for PCU as the latter got the ball back after forcing Adzhar Udjan to a held ball situation with the possession arrow favoring the squad.
Still, the Dolphins could not even tie the game as Reyl Vasquez missed his three-point attempt and Palattao missed his putback, and the Hunters sealed the win at the free throw line.
Comia made 24 points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks, while Udjan added 12 markers, seven boards, two dimes, four swats, and two interceptions for New Era.
Vasquez made 23 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals for PCU.
Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno