The UST Growling Tigers started their UAAP Season 82 campaign on a high note and stifled the UE Red Warriors, 95-82, Wednesday afternoon at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
High-flyer Rhenz Abando had quite himself the debut for UST as he ended up with 22 points, 15 of which came in the first half.
New foreign student-athlete Soulemane Chabi Yo, meanwhile, added 19 markers and 12 boards for the Tigers.
CJ Cansino, who is playing his first UAAP game since his ACL tear last November, flirted with a double-double, posting nine points, eight rebounds, and five assists.
Things turned in favor of UST late in the first quarter, building a 13-0 spurt which saw an 11-16 deficit to a 24-16 advantage. The Tigers led 27-19 to end the opening period.
It was all UST in the second half, with the lead ballooning to as much as 23 points, 78-55 at the 7-minute mark of the fourth quarter, courtesy of a three-pointer by Zachary Huang.
UE, however, made a furious response, and responded with a 16-5 blitz to cut it to 12, 83-71. The Tigers then put them at bay with a 5-0 run and never looked back for their first win of the season.
UST also got help from its reserves, as they contributed 52 points in the win.
"It feels good to win your first game because it gives you confidence, boosts your morale, especially if you have nine newcomers," said UST head coach Aldin Ayo.
The Red Warriors were led by Bong Tan, who replaced Joe Silva after stepping down Tuesday. Tan was flanked by active consultant Lawrence Chongson.
Senegalese big Alex Diakhite also made his presence felt inside for UE, punishing every defender Ayo sent his way. He barreled his way to a 20-point, 21-rebound debut.
Harvey Pagsanjan had a decent showing in his first collegiate game, with the Hope Christian High alumnus posting 15 markers off the bench.
UST faces the UP Fighting Maroons next game on Saturday, September 7 at 4 p.m. while UE will meet the FEU Tamaraws the next day at 12 p.m., both at the same venue.
UST (95) -- Abando 22, Chabi Yo 19, Paraiso 10, Concepcion 10, Cansino 9, Subido 5, Cuajao 5, Cosejo 5, Ando 4, Nonoy 3, Huang 3, Pangilinan 0, Bataller 0.
UE (82) -- Suerte 23, Diakhite 20, Pagsanjan 15, Mendoza 10, Tolentino 6, Abanto 5, Manalang 3, Apacible 0, Antiporda 0, Sawat 0, Conner 0.
Quarter Scores: 27-19, 51-39, 69-52, 95-82.