UE stuns UST in UAAP Season 86 opener

Precious Momowel introduces himself to the UAAP with an impressive showing including this dunk. Jade Moya
By Dugout Philippines

PASAY--The University of the East had a dream start as the host school of the UAAP Season 86 Men's Basketball Tournament, securing a wire-to-wire 80-70 victory over the University of Santo Tomas on Saturday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Coming off a sixth-place finish (5-9) last season, Red Warriors' head coach Jack Santiago had to retool his lineup in preparation for this season.

It was UE's first opening-day win since blasting the University of the Philippines, 87-59, on July 12, 2014.

“I’m so happy with the outcome of the game,” said Santiago, who is in his third year as UE's head coach. “At least, our boys responded very well. Actually, we didn’t scout UST because, as you know, they kept their team hidden for the past 10 months.”

Boosted by their school's opening ceremony, the Red Warriors raced to an 8-0 start, but the Growling Tigers found their footing and managed to tie the game at 22. UE, on the other hand, responded with another run for a 46-34 lead at the half.

However, the Red Warriors saw their once 19-point cushion get trimmed to as low as 75-67 thanks to Mark Llemit's three-point play with 2:03 to go in the game. Jack Cruz-Dumont converted a three with 1:10 left to give UE a 78-67 edge.

Nic Cabañero fouled out with a minute remaining in the game, but Migs Pangilinan gave the Growling Tigers hope with a three. Cruz-Dumont then sealed the game for the Red Warriors with two free throws, condemning UST to its 14th consecutive loss from last season.

“Sabi ko lang sa kanila, knowing coach Pido [Jarencio], he’s a winning coach and a veteran coach also, they will come out strong and they will give us a lot of surprises. So, they made the run [and] I just told the boys not to give up, and they responded well," continued Santiago.

Rey Remogat led the Red Warriors with 21 points, 10 assists, and three steals, followed by Precious Momowei’s 17 points and 15 rebounds.

Cruz-Dumont had 16 points and seven rebounds, and Abdul Sawat contributed 15 points for UE, which will face a tough challenge in their next game against the University of the Philippines on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., still at the same Pasay venue.

UE relied on a strong defensive effort, forcing UST to commit 20 turnovers that resulted in 21 points. The Red Warriors also outperformed the Growling Tigers from the perimeter, scoring 34 points compared to the Growling Tigers’ 14 points.

Cabañero led the Growling Tigers with 18 points and eight rebounds. Christian Manaytay followed suit with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Pangilinan added 10 points for UST.

UST will face Adamson University next at 2 p.m., also on Wednesday.

The Scores:

UE (80) -- Remogat 21, Momowel 17, Cruz-Dumont 16, Sawat 15, Wilson 6, Lingolingo 3, Alcantara 2, Galang 0, Tulabut 0, Maglupay 0, Gilbuena 0, Fikes 0, Langit 0.

UST (70) -- Cabañero 18, Manaytay 15, Pangilinan 10, Calum 9, Laure 7, Llemit 3, Gesalem 3, Manalang 2, Crisostomo 2, Faye 1, Duremdes 0, Lazarte 0, Moore 0, Ventulan 0, Magdangal 0.

Quarterscores: 22-21, 46-34, 64-48, 80-70.

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