RJ Abarrientos delivered a spectacular debut as Far Eastern University clobbered University of Santo Tomas, 76-51, to open the UAAP Season 84 Men's Basketball Tournament, Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
After a blazing 22-9 first quarter, the Tamaraws followed it up with another huge frame, outscoring the Tigers 25-9 in the second to build a 29-point advantage at the half, 47-18.
UST tried to put up some runs in the second half but the Tamaraws always had answers to keep the lead for good.
Despite his team's impressive season debut, FEU head coach Olsen Racela was not to be contented just like that, acknowledging that there are still a lot of things to be done.
"We have more things to prepare kaya pagdating namin sa dorm trabaho ulit kaming coaches pati players," said Racela.
The 5-foot-11 Abarrientos spearheaded FEU's first-half onslaught with 14 of his 18 points, going 4-of-6 from deep. He also tallied five rebounds, and two assists in just 20 minutes of game time.
Bryan Sajonia added 12 points and eight rebounds while Emman Ojuola got eight points, six rebounds, and three assists.
Joshua Fontanilla had a rousing debut himself for UST, collecting 19 points on 50 percent shooting from downtown and overall.
Nic Cabañero chimed in 12 points, while highly-touted rookie Jordi Gomez de Liaño only played 9:45, going 1-of-6 from the field, all from behind the arc, for just three points.
The Tamaraws will collide with defending champion Ateneo de Manila University on Tuesday at 1 pm, while the Tigers cap the night against University of the Philippines at 7 pm.
FEU 76 - Abarrientos 18, Sajonia 12, Ojuola 8, Gravera 6, Coquia 6, Li 5, Bienes 4, Anonuevo 4, Sleat 3, Alforque 2, Dulatre 2, Sandagon 2, Celzo 2, Torres 2, Tempra 0.
UST 51 - Fontanilla 19, Cabanero 12, Concepcion 7, Gomez de Liano 3, Santos 3, Manalang 3, Ando 2, Manaytay 2, Garing 0, Pangilinan 0, Herrera 0, Canoy 0, Sumudio 0.
Quarterscores: 22-9, 47-18, 60-35, 76-51. (Dennis Lachica, Sportsmanila Photojournalist)