The Junior Tigresses stunned heavily favored De La Salle Zobel, 63-45, in the main game of the double-header to set the tone for the tournament, which is a demo sport for Season 82.
Trailing early, UST turned to their defense to close the first half on a 6-0 run capped by a Bridgette Santos fastbreak layup to lead at 11, 27-16, heading into the break.
Erika Danganan paced the Tigresses with 21 points to go along with nine rebounds and six assists. The guard also ended with four steals, two of which came in that stretch, which sparked the run.
“Nung nag-start kami, gigil kami eh,” UST head coach Aileen Grajales admitted. “Yung iba rito galing probinsya, so nanibago pa, gigil pa. Pero nung third quarter, nakabawi na po.”
UST’s advantage ballooned to 26 points at the 9:25 mark of the fourth quarter as Jane Aranza finished off her steal off of a Candice Udal pass to put the board at 47-21.
Grajales was grateful that the league started a Girls’ division. “Paangat na yung women’s basketball so mas maganda yung ginawa ng UAAP, kasi bata pa lang nate-train na natin,” the former national team stalwart said.
In the first-ever UAAP girls basketball match, the Lady Baby Falcons dominated the Lady Eaglets, 121-44.
Mia Miguel produced an impressive double-double performance at 24 points and 14 rebounds, with three steals and an assist to boot to lead Adamson. Katrina Agojo also ended with a double-double at 12 markers and game-high 17 boards.
The Lady Baby Falcons limited Ateneo to just three points in the opening period and a solitary point in the third canto to set the rout.
Andrea Sarmiento was the lone Atenean in double figures with 17 points, while Maxine Almeda added seven markers and 11 boards.
The two opening day winners UST and Adamson will gun it out for the solo lead on Saturday, January 18 at 9 a.m., while La Salle and Ateneo will battle for the first win later at 11 a.m. Both matches will still be at the same venue.