MANILA, Philippines - Defending champion Ateneo passed its opening test with flying colors but La Salle hardly made an impact after being pushed by a determined University of the Philippines on Sunday in the 75th UAAP basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Getting the goods from the usual suspects - Greg Slaughter, Nico Salva and Kiefer Ravena - the Eagles brought down the Adamson Falcons, 73-57, to jumpstart their five-peat bid in grand fashion.
The seven-foot Slaughter imposed his will inside to finish with 17 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks while Salva added 14 points for the four-time defending champions.
Ravena was also terrific as he scattered nine points aside from helping quarterbacked the team's plays to make it going especially in the third where they shut down the Falcons to pull away for good.
The Archers, on the other hand, went to rookie Jeron Teng at crunch time to eke out a 73-68 victory over the Maroons.
Teng completed a three-point play to regain the lead 70-68, thanks to a perfect pass by LA Revilla with 23 ticks left.
''It was a workmanlike effort on the part of the players,'' said Norman Black, who moved four shy of bagging his 100th career coaching win as Eagles mentor.
UP had a chance to take the lead on the ensuing play but Jett Manuel's three-point attempt was blocked by the lanky Yutien Andrada before Revilla sank a pair of charities that saw the Archers heave a big sigh of relief.The narrow win, La Salle's fifth straight over UP, was a decent welcome for Teng and new coach Gee Abanilla.
''Feels good to get that first win,'' Abanilla said. ''The team played well enough but I think we didn't do a good job because we gave UP a lot of easy points but its something that we can work on in the future.''
Teng finished with 15 points and six rebounds while Revilla, one of La Salle's team captains, also scored 15 points while adding 11 rebounds and seven assists.
Center Norbert Torres led the way for the Taft-based cagers with 16 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks. Andrada posted 10 points, seven boards and two blocks.