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From game one: Ochea, Adamson moving towards the right direction



Season Previews weren’t kind for the Adamson Falcons. Most writers pegged them to dwell at the bottom of the standings with some going as far as to question the intelligence of those who think the Falcons stand a chance to win a game.

“I wouldn’t take it away from Adamson Falcons to win a game. But if you’re a smart man, you wouldn’t bet on it,” one writer confidently concluded in his primer.

However, with the way Adamson performed in their opening day match against the UST Tigers, the Falcons showed why there really should be more optimism for their team not only for this season, but especially for years to come.

Last season, the Falcons were in the wrong end of every statistical ranking last year, where they most notably scored only a league-low 55 points per game. They surpassed that in their opening match and gave a veteran-laden UST team a run for their money.

AdU team captain and Smart Elite ambassador, Dawn Ochea provided the lift his jittery teammates needed to close in on the Tigers, who led them 22-5 after the opening quarter. Ochea wound up with 12 points on 5/8 shooting while inhaling five boards.

Former AdU mentor, Leo Austria tagged Ochea as a four-year project when he recruited him and compared him to former Falcon and current NLEX Road Warrior Eric Camson. “Si Dawn, pakiramdam ko kailangan niya pa ng ilang taon para gumaling. By his fourth year, when his body and game has matured, I think maipapakita niya na ‘yung talent niya. Matalino siya maglaro tapos hard worker din,” Austria told the author before being ousted from his position.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times From game one: Ochea, Adamson moving towards the right direction    Now in his third year in San Marcelino, the Sacred Heart School – Ateneo de Cebu standout has had to do a bit more growing up than he initially expected, but Ochea’s has addressed his team’s status like a veteran.

“Okay pa rin ‘yung team. Maraming nagbago, pero in terms of samahan, okay pa rin kami,” said Ochea. “Malaki naman ‘yung improvement sa team. Sa FilOil, kumuha lang kami ng experience para mag-gel kami as a team. Nag-polishing lang kami,” the Adamson captain added of his team’s turbulent off-season that saw the sudden firing of then head coach Kenneth Duremdes and the transfer of Matt Aquino and Axel Iñigo to NU and FEU, respectively.

“Ayos lang. Nasa sa amin na lang siguro nila Ivan [Villanueva] at Pape [Sarr] para buhatin ‘yung team,” Ochea replied when asked about the team’s changes that also includes the graduation of veterans Don Trollano and Jansen Rios.

Unfortunately, Ochea didn’t receive the contribution he was hoping for from Pape and Villanueva in the first game. However, veteran point guard, Airo Nalos provided a team-high 18 points.

Nalos has no shortage of big-game experience, having previously played for the SWU Cobras with Ben Mbala, where they won a CESAFI title. He might not norm 18 ppg but the Cebuano’s fast offensive game should constantly create opportunities for the team.

Like in the UST game, Adamson’s lack of veteran leadership will be most felt during the tail end of close games. When UST had Smart Elite ambassador Ferrer and veteran Daquiaog to provide clutch points, Ochea suffered from cramps and Adamson looked lost in trying to find decent shots.

For now, all Adamson has are baby-faced, scrappy young guns with Ochea’s young voice leading their plod. It’s going to be a long season, but odds are, it isn’t going to feel as long as last season.

With Mike Fermin unclogging the offense and providing a fresh, less violent voice, a bunch of young players due for a good game, and a community hungry for a win, the Falcons are a safe bet to bust our primers.


Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.