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La Salle, San Beda open FilOil preseason tourney with victories

SAN JUAN CITY, PHILIPPINES - MAY 5, 2019: Aljun Melecio of La Salle shoots a jumper against UST during the 13th Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup at the Filoil Flying V Arena. KC Cruz/ESPN5

La Salle got it going in the second period on its way to disposing of University of Santo Tomas, 72-49, in their Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup opener on Sunday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

Andrei Caracut was at the forefront of La Salle's attack in the breezy victory. He finished with 19 points, two rebounds, and the same number of assists.

Justin Baltazar added 10 points.

It was a convincing victory for a team that underwent a coaching change after its recent UAAP campaign. Gian Nazario is now La Salle's head coach.

"We just executed what we've been practicing. This summer is a great opportunity for us to show what we've been working on since January," Caracut said.

"We're not thinking about expectations. As a team captain, I will just do my part and lead the team."

La Salle spent the entire opening period sizing up the Growling Tigers. Then the Green Archers turned it up in the second before wrapping up the first half with a 39-27 buffer.

They refused to slow down from there. At one point in the fourth period, La Salle led by 66-39 and never looked back.

There was little resistance on the part of the Growling Tigers, who were paced by Soulemane Chabi Yo who had 16 points. Dave Ando chipped in 12 markers.

In the second game, the San Beda Red Lions posted a 75-66 win over the UP Fighting Maroons.

Clint Doliguez, was named Player of the Game after posting seven points, one rebound and a block.

"From the start, we have to be consistent always. That's what coach (Boyet) has been telling us, once we start the game strong, we have to remain consistent all throughout the game until the final buzzer."

The Red Lions, who fought off every rally from the Fighting Maroons, are gunning for a fourth straight championship in the upcoming season of the NCAA. But Doliguez said they still have a lot of work to do.

"We aren't ready yet for the upcoming season. We still have a lot to improve as individuals and as a team. We're still months away (from the next season) so we still have time to prepare."

ESPN5's JC Ansis contributed to this report.