Newcomers AMA Titans, University of Luzon Golden Tigers in fiery debut wins in NCRAA

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ANDRE PARAS’ double-double performance provides AMA Titans in coming away with a huge debut win in the Sta. Lucia Land-NCRAA men’s basketball tournament. — REY JOBLE

ANDRE PARAS stole the spotlight in the opening of the Sta. Lucia Land-NCRAA men’s basketball tournament in powering his team, AMA Titans to a one-sided victory, but his double-double performance was nearly overshadowed by another newcomer participant in University of Luzon, a team based in Dagupan, which pulled off a similar one-sided victory at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Mr. Paras, son of PBA legend Benjie Paras, led the Titans in a dominating 93-61 victory over Philippine Merchant Maritime School.

The 6-foot-5 Paras had a double-double performance, finishing with 15 points and 20 rebounds while also blocking six shots.

“With Andre getting the rebounds, we were able to run more and score on transition,” said AMA coach Mark Herrera.

The Titans quickly raced to a 14-0 lead and didn’t look back as the team composed half of the seniors and juniors squad was able to show better cohesion.

The league, which is backed by Sta. Lucia Land and being outfitted by LGR Sportswear, ushered its 25th season with a colorful opening ceremonies.

Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Butch Ramirez was the keynote speaker and guest of honor.

Former PBA chairman and long-time Sta. Lucia executive Buddy Encarnado declared the games open. Mr. Encarnado is the new general manager of the league while Bai Cristobal is the commissioner.

Mr. Paras and the rest of the Titans’ overpowering performance was duplicated by University of Luzon Golden Tigers’ 89-64 bashing of Asian Institute of Maritime Studies.

The Golden Tigers displayed balance firepower with Harvey Kyne Campo leading the way with 14 points. John Ericson Canlas added 13 markers while Robert Caasi contributed 12. Mario Angelito Torio had 11 as the University of Luzon, which traveled as far as Dagupan City early Tuesday morning, barely showed signs of fatigue as it outworked and outhustled its rival, which is just a stone’s throw away from the venue. — Rey Joble