Photo from PBA Images
MANILA, Philippines – The UST Growling Tigers obliterated Batangas-EAC, 94-70, to kickstart its 2019 PBA D-League campaign on a high note on Monday, February 18, at Paco Arena in Manila.
Coach Aldin Ayo proudly paraded his new recruits with Beninese forward Soulemane Chabi-Yo uncorking 19 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks to lead the charge.
Pangasinense forward Rhanz Abando also had a rousing debut with 17 points, 9 boards and 2 dimes while former La Salle swingman Brent Paraiso collected 8 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
The Growling Tigers also unveiled 18-year-old guard Mark Nonoy, who lived up to the hype by pouring in 15 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal as he became the youngest player in PBA D-League history.
"Masaya kami kasi nakapaglaro agad ng maayos yung mga bago. Nakapag-adjust sila agad," Ayo said after the game.
(We're happy because the new guys played well. They were able to adjust accordingly.)
"Unang liga namin ito na big league. Masaya naman ako na hindi kami masyadong tight and nailabas nila 'yung laro nila. 'Yun lang naman, gusto lang namin na mailabas 'yung pine-prepare namin."
(This is our first big league and I'm happy that we weren't too tight and they were able to play their game. That's all. I just want to see our preparations get out there.)
Abando led the blazing 10-0 start for the Growling Tigers that set the tone for the game as the boys from España stretched the lead to as much as 33, 75-42, late in the 3rd courtesy of Germy Mahinay's free throws.
Senior playmaker Renzo Subido chipped in 11 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds for UST to gain an early headstart in the Aspirants' Group.
Earvin Mendoza led Batangas-EAC in the loss with 14 points, 3 steals and 2 rebounds off the bench while as Allan Martin scored 10.
In the second game, Chadao-FEU hardly broke a sweat in its 84-62 wire-to-wire victory over SMDC-NU.
Alec Stockton triggered the rout, firing 7 of his 15 points in the Tamaraws' scorching 21-8 1st quarter as they easily cruised to their first victory in the Foundation Group.
Sophomore guard L-Jay Gonzales did his part for Chadao-FEU with 12 points, 3 boards and 3 assists as he slowly eases in to a bigger role with the team.
But for coach Olsen Racela, he was more than satisfied with how his bigs responded to the challenge.
"Of course, it's a good start for us because more than anything, what we're getting here is the exposure for our players, especially the bigs. They rose to the challenge today," he said.
Ken Tuffin and Branrey Bienes combined for 22 points and 6 rebounds as Cameroonian slotman Patrick Tchuente impressed with 9 points, 4 rebounds and 1 block.
It was all Tamaraws in this game as they limited the Bulldogs to just 27% clip from the field and even took a lead as high as 28, 53-28, midway through the 3rd quarter.
Dave Ildefonso carried SMDC-NU in the losing cause with 14 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
UST 94 - Chabi Yo 19, Abando 17, Nonoy 15, Subido 11, Paraiso 8, Lee 7, Mahinay 6, Pangilinan 5, Ando 4, Caunan 2.
Batangas-EAC 70 - E. Mendoza 14, Martin 10, Maguliano 8, Gonzales 8, De Joya 7, Dela Pena 4, Boffa 4, J. Mendoza 3, Tampoc 2, Fuentes 2, Corilla 2, Cadua 2, Taywan 2, Estacio 2.
Quarters: 24-11, 45-27, 75-46, 94-70.
Chadao-FEU 84 - Stockton 15, Gonzales 12, Tuffin 11, Bienes 11, Tchuente 9, Jopia 6, Ebona 5, Comboy 5, Cani 4, Flores 4, Celzo 2, Nunag 0, Bayquin 0, Casino 0, Mantua 0.
SMDC-NU 62 - D. Ildefonso 14, Gaye 12, S. Ildefonso 7, Chatman 7, Clemente 6, Galinato 3, Minerva 3, Sinclair 2, Rangel 2, Diputado 2, Oczon 2, Tibayan 2, Mangayao 0, Gallego 0, Malonzo 0.
Quarters: 21-8, 45-23, 68-46, 84-62.