After experiencing two straight losses for the first time this season, the young Adamson University Soaring Falcons vented its frustration on season hosts University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers, 79-52, to grab a share of the top four in the UAAP Season 79 Men’s Basketball tournament, Wednesday afternoon at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
“I think this is a good springboard for us coming into the second round. We were totally frustrated the last time around,” first year Adamson head coach Franz Pumaren said about the win.
“But I have to give credit to my guys. We made it really difficult. We frustrated them from the start,” he furthered as Adamson forced UST to 21 turnovers that led to 21 turnover points. “That’s what we should be doing, establishing ourselves from the start.”
Papi Sarr posted a monster double-double with 16 points, 25 rebounds, and four blocks. Rookies Nico Paranada and Jerrick Ahanmisi added 14 and 11 points respectively, the former achieving his UAAP career-high.
The Soaring Falcons broke the game open after the halftime break.
With UST’s thin frontline already in foul trouble, Cameroonian big man Papi Sarr feasted in the paint to start the third canto. The 21 year old was even able to grab four quick fouls from rookie Tsutomu Tateishi. The neophyte from Espana did not know what hit him once he entered the game as he gave up four fouls in a span of just 22 seconds.
Adamson’s pressing defense then gave UST fits as the Tigers committed every turnover possible during the third frame. The hosts could only put up four points in the first 8 minutes and 47 seconds of the quarter. On the other end, Sarr, Nico Paranada, and Sean Manganti lambasted UST’s defense as the lead ballooned to a 24 point margin, 59-35, with 47 seconds left in the quarter.
“Each game is gonna be important for us. I don’t think we can slack off. Each playing game, each school, is wishing one school will lose a particular game,” Pumaren furthered.
UST eventually caved in the final frame with the lead not going down the 19 point barrier. Jonathan Espeleta put on the finishing the touches as the lead ballooned to 27 points to close out the game.
Kent Lao led UST with 13 points and eight rebounds. Marvin Lee added 10 points for UST, a team that shot a collective 27 percent from the field.
The Adamson Soaring Falcons finish the first round with a 4-3 slate, keeping pace with the Ateneo Blue Eagles. The UST Growling Tigers meanwhile are stuck at seventh place with a 2-5 record.
“It’s a surprise. I don’t think anybody expected us to finish above .500 and exceed one game last year,” Pumaren remarked about his team finishing a game above .500 to finish the round.
“Hopefully we’ll sustain what we’re doing.”
ADU (79) – Sarr 16, Paranada 14, Ahanmisi 11, Manalang 10, Espeleta 9, Manganti 7, Ochea 6, Pasturan 4, Bernardo 2, Camacho 0, Mustre 0, Chua 0, Ng 0, Bernardo 0.
UST (52) – Lao 13, Lee 10, Vigil 8, Sheriff 6, Basibas 4, Faundo 3, Afoakwah 2, Subido 2, Huang 2, Caunan 2, De Guzman 0, Macasaet 0, Tateishi 0.
Quarterscores: 22-19, 33-29, 59-37, 79-52.