The Mighty Sports backed Kuyas came off a sluggish 21-33 start but debuting coach Britt Reroma adjusted their defense scheme holding the Crusaders scoreless for long stretches in the second and third period.
Trailing 21-33 early into the second quarter, Jason Melano made a basket that jumpstarted the Kuyas hot 24-0 run lasting until the next quarter.
The Mighty Sports backed team never looked back after leading by as much as 19 points.
James Martinez paved the way with 18 points while beefy 6-foot-3 center JR “Baby Shaq” Taganas narrowly missed a triple double with 10 points, a career-matching 16 rebounds and 7 assists.
Stephen Siruma quietly filled the stat sheet with 8 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists as Gideon Ira Babilonia, Dan Wong and Melano each finished with eight points in the team effort.
Paul Santiago led the visiting Rizal Crusaders with 13 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals while James Abugan gave 10 points and 6 rebounds in the loss.
Reroma after the game said that the opening game win was a much-needed confidence booster this tournament after bowing out early in the playoffs last season.
The multititled former San Beda Red Cubs mentor wants to build a winning culture within the Kuyas and hopefully snag the big prize this tournament.
In their next game (June 30), the Kuyas’ caliber will be tested against the San Juan Knights, seen as one of the league’s stronger teams.
Bulacan (80) – Martinez 18, Taganas 10, Babilonia 8, Melano 8, Wong 8, Siruma 8, Escosio 7, Dela Cruz 5, Thiele 4, Gonzales 2, Napoles 2, Salamat 0, Murillo 0, Ballon 0, Villanueva 0.
Rizal (61) – Santiago 13, Abugan 10, Diputado 9, Juanico 7, Marquez 6, Benitez 6, Dela Cuesta 4, Vitug 4, Banzali 2, Doligon 0, Gregorio 0, Balagtas 0, Hosseini 0, Lunor 0.
Quarterscores: 1Q: 19-27; 2Q: 39-33; 3Q: 61-48; Final 80-61