By carrying Adamson University into the Final Four of the UAAP Season 85 Men’s Basketball Tournament, Jerom Lastimosa has gained a lot of fans because of his exploits throughout the campaign.
However, all good things must come to an end. The Soaring Falcons’ dreams of advancing further were halted after they lost 60-81 against Ateneo de Manila University.
The Dumaguete native was a marked man throughout that game as he only contributed 10 points on the back of 4-of-15 shooting alongside five rebounds, three assists, and two steals in 30:58 minutes of action.
Ateneo’s defense on him was so tight that he only scored a single point in the first half. During that stretch, he went 0-of-5 from the field and committed three turnovers.
“This is playoffs and the reason these two guys are here (Chris Koon and BJ Andrade) is not because Chris hit some threes and scored 15 points. It’s because really Jerom couldn’t see anything for three-and-a-half quarters of the game,” said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin.
“That’s a credit to these two guys. That was a big part of the game plan. He’s a great player. Neutralizing him forced the rest of their roster to do things they’re not entirely comfortable with,” he continued.
“These two guys just did a phenomenal job defending Jerom. You don’t win championships if you don’t play defense.”
With Lastimosa’s output limited, Adamson struggled in terms of offense, especially during the third quarter where the Soaring Falcons only scored seven points after the halftime break.
“Like coach said, credit to Jerom. He’s a great player” said Koon. “When coach gave me the job to guard him with BJ… I wanted to take that role.
“Everything that they told me, I tried to just know that he was a great player and listen to what the coaches were saying,” the former Cal Poly cager added.
“It was tough. He’ll get his but as a team, our defense… we had so many rotations. So many guys stepped up and I think that was a credit to what we do in practice. I was happy that we were able to contain him as much as we did today.”
For the season, Lastimosa was averaging 15.38 points on 40.96-percent shooting, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.62 assists per game.
But in three games against Ateneo, the native of Dumaguete is putting up just 12.7 points on 39.5-percent shooting from the field — 2-of-20 from deep, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.7 assists.
“Para sa kin, proud ako sa team ko and credit din kay Jerom Lastimosa,” said Andrade.
“Napakagaling nun grabe.”
And their defense against Lastimosa is a good test as they face JD Cagulangan, Cyril Gonzales, Gerry Abadiano, Harold Alarcon, and Terrence Fortea.