Having beaten the defending champions before, the Adamson University Soaring Falcons were expected to give the Ateneo de Manila University a good fight during their second round rematch. However, it ended up as a defensive clinic by the Blue Eagles.
“It’s just a matter of simple analysis,” rued third-year Soaring Falcons head coach Franz Pumaren. “They played well. We played bad.
“We were taken out of our comfort zone.”
‘Taken out of their comfort zone’ was an understatement, as Ateneo shut down Adamson’s big three.
Jerrick Ahanmisi, who was averaging 18.8 points per game on 40.8 shooting, was held down to just 10 points on 33 percent shooting. On the other hand, Sean Manganti was limited to just six points on 11 attempts – 8.6 points lower than his norm – while Papi Sarr finished with just nine points and five boards.
Moreover, the Blue Eagles locked down the Soaring Falcons to just 48 points – 26.4 points lower than their average.
Still, the five-time UAAP Men’s Basketball Champion coach looked at the silver lining from the game.
“If you’ll look at the end game, we still played decent defense. It’s just our offense, we didn’t execute well. Coming from a team that’s been on a massacre mission, they scored sixty-two points,” beamed Pumaren as Jerrick Ahanmisi scored eight of his 10 points in the final frame to cut a once-20-point lead down to just 12 points.
“We still had a decent defensive effort for tonight’s game. It’s just we couldn’t convert.”
With the Adamson-Ateneo series knotted at 1-all, Pumaren hopes that the two squads meet once again in the playoffs as Tab Baldwin brings out the best out of him and his staff.
“It’s nice playing against Ateneo. Hopefully, we can still meet each other.
“They make the best out of me and the best out of the team because coaching against a very experienced coach,” expressed Pumaren. “Tonight’s game is a testament that the playoffs started tonight. Atmosphere was different, the intensity was different.”
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