Wang’s Ballclub-AsiaTech debuted in style, beating last year’s runner-up Emilio Aguinaldo College, 82-81, in the 2017 MBL Open basketball championship at the EAC Sports Center in Ermita, Manila.
Former Arellano University mainstay Ralph Salcedo canned two free throws with only 11 seconds left to salvage the win for the Manadaluyong-based team of managers Alex Wang and Shelalin Manarin and coach Pablo Lucas.
Salcedo’s free throws came after Gabriel Aguas of EAC scored on a layup to tie the score at 80-all and CJ Cadua split his free throws to give the Generals a one-point cushion, 81-80.
Rey Publico topscored with 29 points for Wang’s, while John Tayongtong and Argen Sabalza added 11 points apiece.
Sidney Onwubere paced the Generals with 23 points, followed by Jethro Mendoza with 13 and Allan Martin with 11.
Overshadowed was defending champion FEU-NRMF-Gerry’s Grill, which routed Victoria Sports-MLQU, 89-57, behind the solid, all-around effort of Fil-German Glenn Gravengard.
The 6-1 Gravengard, who played for the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in 2011-12, scattered 18 points for FEU-NRMF of coach Pido Jarencio and manager Nino Reyes.
The 27-year-old Kinesiology graduate, who once worked at the Steve Nash Fitness Clubs, had his finest moment in the second quarter when he scored 11 points on drives and mid-range jumpers in the tournament supported by Smart Sports, Dickies Underwear, Star Bread and Gerry’s Grill.
Gravengard’s smashing debut in the league mirrored the eye-popping start of his half-brother Clay Crellin for the same Fairview, Quezon City-based team in the MBL eight months ago.
Crellin and Gravengard are maternal siblings, with their Filipina mother now based in Canada.
Crellin, who earned MVP honor while leading FEU-NRMF to the MBL title last December, finished with 14 points despite battling foul trouble.