Raging Tams ground Eagles in hot start

Mac Belo delivered 16 points as FEU Tamaraws zoomed to a hot start in their UAAP Season 78 campaign. File Photo

MANILA, Philippines -- Highly-touted Far Eastern U flexed its muscles immediately and hacked out a wire-to-wire 88-64 demolition of Ateneo to open its bid in the UAAP Season 78 men's basketball tourney with a bang Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Tams turned to torrid outside shooting to seize control late in the first period, 23-12, and tirelessly turned up the heat the rest of the way to complete the emphatic victory.

"No, it's not a statement win; we don't play for the others. What's important is we just focus on the task at hand regardless of who we're facing. We're just fortunate today that our outside shots were coming in," said FEU coach Nash Racela, whose wards made nine of their 26 tries from rainbow country.

Roger Pogoy banged in 19 points spiked by four triples while Mike Tolomia (17 markers, eight boards and six assists), Mac Belo (16) and Raymar Jose (16 points, 10 boards) delivered equally impressive numbers as the foursome alone outscored the entire Blue Eagles, 68-64.

Kiefer Ravena finished with 25 points to lead Ateneo, which didn't get much production from fancied rookies Hubert Cani, who had two points, and Jerie Pingoy, who went scoreless, in their debuts. Pingoy, a former FEU juniors star, served two years in the freezer because of the controversial residency requirement. Cani, formerly of National U high, almost did not get to play this season, if not for the signing of the Student Athlete Protection Act.

Inspire of the blowout win, Racela expressed disappointment with the Tams' defense.

"Our objective in defense was to limit the touches of Kiefer Ravena. He scored 25, he took 18 shots and eight freethrows so I don't think we're successful defensively. The boys still need to work on their defense," said Racela.

The FEU mentor though gave his wards the thumbs-up in the assist department, where they accounted for 17, and as well as on offense, where they hit a 51.35 percent clip (38 of 74).

"We scored 88 points in 40 minutes, it's good enough. And I think we carried over one of our strengths from last year - we had 17 assists today. That has been our emphasis, keep on sharing the ball," said Racela.

Second game

FEU 88 -Pogoy 19, Tolomia 17, Belo 16, Jose 16, Ru. Escoto 6, Arong 5, Inigo 5, Dennison 4, Ri. Escoto 0, Holmqvist 0, Orizu 0, Tamsi 0, Trinidad 0.

AdMU 64 - Ravena 25, Capacio 14, Pessumal 9, Gotladera 6, Wong 4, Cani 2, Ikeh 2, A. Tolentino 2, Babilonia 0, Ma. Nieto 0, Mi. Nieto 0, Pingoy 0, M. Tolentino 0.

Quarterscores 23-11, 44-26, 64-49, 88-64.

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