There will be no winless season this year. In their final game of the year, the Adamson Soaring Falcons finally got a win on the board with a thrilling 67-63 decision over fellow cellar-dwellers University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons. Celedonio Trollano was once again the main man for the Falcons, but this time, his output of 21 points and 12 rebounds was indeed enough to secure an emotional first victory for his team. Plucky reserve Diego Dario led the Maroons’ unsuccessful late push, and he also surprisingly headlined his crestfallen team’s scoring with 13 markers. Despite tying UP’s 1-13 mark, Adamson’s sole win actually still leaves them at the bottom of the standings, as none other than the Fighting Maroons maintain their position with a superior quotient.
UP actually led to start the game, as the Maroons bombed the shell-shocked Falcons with a barrage of three-pointers. The Fighting Maroons, led by Moriah Gingerich, nailed 6 long-range daggers in the first period alone, to give them a sizeable 24-12 advantage after 10 minutes. Unfortunately for the luckless UP faithful, they wouldn’t make another trey until the final quarter. Compounding their woes was a quick injury to starting point guard Henry Asilum, who dislocated his right shoulder following a collision with an Adamson player near midcourt. As has been the case all year long, Don Trollano carried the Falcons on his uninjured shoulders, powering Adamson to a 38-21 spurt over the next two quarters. Trollano’s impact was most keenly felt in the 25 point third stanza, where he led his team with 7 points in only 8 minutes of action. He furthered the Adamson cause with two straight back-breaking baskets to open the decisive period, and that looked to be game, set, and match. The gutsy Maroons punched back behind mercurial guard Mikee Reyes, who, straight off the bench, fired in a three to cut Adamson’s lead to only 4 points. Adamson substitute guard William Polican kept his nerve at the charity stripe to keep the Falcons a shade ahead, but Diego Dario exploded for 5 straight points to knot the game at 63. UP promptly reverted to type, and the league’s worst defense promptly allowed an Adamson fastbreak layup, handing the Falcons the lead for good. A botched UP offensive set gave the jubilant Falcons the ball back, and that was the end of the game.
Jansen Rios again struggled with his shot, shooting only 31% from the field en route to 11 points, but was hustle personified, continually disrupting UP’s misfiring offense with his athleticism. Rios’ stat-less efforts were rewarded when he stripped Maroon Kyles Lao of a possession and raced down the court for an empathic slam in the third quarter. The normally offense-averse Falcons also drew solid contributions from the less heralded members of their team, aside from the dynamic duo of Rios and Trollano, 5 players, top-billed by lanky Dawn Ochea, scored 5 or more points in the game. UP, on the other hand, had to lean on substitutes Diego Dario and Kyles Lao (11 points) all game long, as only Moriah Gingerich cracked double digit scoring for the hapless Maroons. UP’s most potent weapon, Rey Gallarza fired blanks the entirety of the match, and finished with only 7 points on an atrocious 1/10 clip.