University of Batangas made a statement in its return yesterday by downing Philippine Christian University-Dasmariñas, 92-80, in the opening of the 4th PG Flex Linoleum-Universities and Colleges Basketball League at the Olivarez College gym in Parañaque City.
With JJ Caspe and Don Tabol making their outside shots, the Brahmans took a 29-18 first quarter lead which they wisely and gallantly protected to jumpstart their title bid in the 8-team tournament.
Caspe was sharp and deadly as the famed Batangas knife by making 9 of 14 attempts from the field, including 3-of-5 from the 3-point area to lead the Brahmans with 27 points.
He also had five rebounds and dished out three assists and three steals in an impressive all-around game.
In all, UB made 10 treys, including five from Tabol who finished with 21 points.
Out to make up for a forgettable showing two years ago, the Brahmans led by as many as 21 points – thanks to their transition baskets and defensive effort.
“Mahalaga kasi sa amin na manalo ng first game kasi last two seasons talo kami,” said Caspe.
Raoul Yemeli also stepped up for the Brahmans with 16 points, 15 rebounds and three assists, while Melvin Ricaña added 15 points and nine boards.
The Dolphins pulled to within 12 (90-78), but it proved to be their last gallant stand.
Lucien Mulamba scored 14 points and 14 rebounds, while Sandee Diez posted 14 points in a failed effort for PCU-D.
Title favorite Centro Escolar University was playing against Olivarez College at presstime.