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Aviñante powers Spurs to PGBL opening day win over Pioneers

MANILA, Philippines – The GlobalPort Spurs and defending champions TNT Tigerscribes fired off the PGBL Season 4 Willie Cabales Cup on a high note as they downed their respective opponents at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum Monday evening.

The talent-rich Spurs, who fielded a depleted lineup in their opener, were able to withstand a furious late-game rally by the much heftier BEST Center Pioneers to emerge triumphant in the curtain-raiser, 59-51.

Former Philstar.com sportswriter Aldo Aviñante was at the forefront of the Spurs' attack with 26 points and nine rebounds. Budoy Lagunzad, who has yet to fully recover due to an ankle injury, finished with a double-double with 11 points and 13 boards.

The Globalport-backed franchise played without veterans Joey Villar, Randy Caluag and AJ Bolando, along with rookie Bryan Ulanday.

Top pick Arnold Cagang finished with 24 points for the Pioneers, scoring 12 in the final frame. Frontcourt partners Reuben Terrado and Christian Jacinto scored 10 apiece and combined for 23 of their team's 51 rebounds.

In the second match, the towering Tigerscribes' championship pedigree showed up at the most opportune time, stepping on the gas in the payoff period to leave last season's runner-up Dymons in the dust, 61-46.

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Karlo Sacamos anchored the TNT-powered squad with 23 points, four rebounds, three assists and four steals. Cedelf Tupas chipped in 15 points, while reigning Most Valuable Player Diego Dela Paz pulled down 11 rebounds and had seven points.

Veteran forward Jonas Terrado paced the Noli Cortez-mentored Dymons with 13 points and 11 boards. Neophytes Paul Ryan Tan and Mix Gatpandan supported the 31-year-old as they produced eight points each.

The cagefest presented by the Philippine Basketball Association and the Philippine Sports Commission will resume next Monday, October 30. TNT will face BEST at 8 p.m., while the Spurs will take on the Dymons at 10 p.m.

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