With Karim Abdul fresh out of the hospital and only able to play half a quarter, the Thomasians pulled themselves together when it mattered most and handed the Adamsonians their 8th loss of the season, 61-59 at the Araneta Colesium.
With the Tigers leading, 60-59, with more than a minute remaining, UST caromed their four insuing misses, forcing Adamson to foul Aljon Mariano and leaving the Falcons with only 10 seconds as Mariano drained one of his two cahrities.
The Thomasians would then hound the game’s top-scorer, Jansen Rios, doubling him in his drive attempt which forced him to give the ball up to rookie, William Polican, who missed potential game-winning three.
With UST’s main outside gunners drawing blanks from their outside attempts all season, the Falcons resorted to their usual Adam-Zone defense, which traps ball handlers in the front court then settles into a 2-3 zone as the opponent crosses the halfcourt line. This steady defensive plan allowed the Falcons easy opportunities in the fastbreak and semi-transition, giving the Falcons the lead for short periods during the first three quarters.
But Adamson’s main weaknesses surfaced during the waning moments of the game as the young and undersized Falcons just couldn’t get key defensive boards after getting stops on defense while wasting offensive possessions on isolation plays which too often led to turnovers.
UST attempted 11 more shots as a result of Adamson’s rebounding and turnover woes which made up for their atrocious five for 28 shooting from beyond the arc. Louie Vigil led all Tigers in scoring with 13 points as both Aljon Mariano and Kevin Ferrer struggled to navigate Adamson’s zone defense. The duo shot a combined five for 28 from the field amassing only 15 points as a pair.
Jansen Rios continued his stellar play despite Adamson’s miserable season. The former Letran Squire filled the stats sheet with 22 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Citing the UAAP by-laws, UST avoided an untimely matchup with the league’s top squad, ADMU and had the schedule for this week’s games changed late Thursday night.