TOP favorites Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) and Holy Child School of Davao turned back separate rivals at the start of the FilOil-Flying V Invitational Junior Basketball Tournament Saturday at the Gaisano Citimall Skygym.

Ford Academy of Arts and Emar Learning Center also scored opening-day wins to join the winning column in the event supported by the Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas 11 headed by its director Regino "Boy" Cua.

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Ateneo figured in a rough encounter with newcomer Southern Philippines Polytechnic College of Sasa in the main match before pulling off an 87-70 win.

John Patrick Pasia led the Blue Knights with his game-high 25 points, 30 of them in the first half as Ateneo took a 52-23 lead.

The game was stopped in the last seven minutes after a near melee. Ateneo head coach Caloy Salvador slammed the officials' table thrice and demanded to change the referees for alleged bad officiating in the final half.

Although Salvador was not given a warning by officials, his assistant coach was penalized with a technical foul for entering the court during a heated confrontation among several players.

A free-for-all was prevented but some players were ejected from the game. Organizers will issue a formal statement on the incident anytime this week.

Ford ignited a 22-13 run and never looked back to rout Daniel Aguinaldo National High School, 90-72 in the first game.

Kendall Claro exploded with 22 points for the Perig Alicante-mentored Ford squad. Aldrin Jay Maralit led Aguinaldo with 23 points.

Emar waxed hot in the final quarter with a 28-14 blast to stun Jose Maria College, 75-60. It was a see-saw game in the first three quarters with the opening canto tied at 15-all.

The HCSD Reds of Coach Ildie Cunanan displayed sticky defense and a running game to crush Agro Industrial Foundation College, 112-99.

Ian Flaviano exploded with 42 points, while Jose Remy Morada and Christopher Gavia added with 26 and 14, respectively for the Reds. Jimuel Monteron fouled out after scoring 24 points for the Sailors of veteran coach Mat Cubero.

Meanwhile, Aguinaldo's Almira Co and Emar's Michelle Saraga were chosen as co-winners for the Best Muse title. They will be awarded with their prizes on July 18 during the rites according to tournament chairman Binggoy Montemayor.

Insular Oil Company CEO Toto Villavicencio and Administrator Robert Mapanao represented the FilOil Gas Company and Flying V Petroleum during the short opening program.

The month-long event for players 17 years old and below, is co-sponsored by Felcris Superstore, Kar Asia, Stronghold Insurance, Villa Margarita Hotel and Apo Natural Water. (CRAM)