Nash Racela admitted that replacing Jerom Lastimosa would be a challenging task, and because of this, the Adamson head coach issued a challenge to the remaining Falcons.
The 5-foot-10 point guard from Dumaguete suffered a complete ACL tear in his left knee.
Due to this, he will miss the rest of the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Tournament, marking an unfortunate end to his collegiate career.
“We’ve been in that situation the whole year, actually. That’s why it’s been a bit up and down, with us constantly searching for solutions. I’m confident our players are up to the challenge, especially now. I always say, you don’t really have a choice,” said Racela after their 63-54 win over Far Eastern University on Sunday.
“But it’s tough; you know that replacing Jerom Lastimosa is a difficult task, but it will be a collective effort for the team. From player number 1 to player number 15, we need all the positive contributions they can provide to survive the UAAP.”
A heavy responsibility will fall on Adamson’s point guards, including Joem Sabandal, Matthew Montebon, Matt Erolon, and Jed Colonia, to pick up the slack – particularly after their shaky win against the Tamaraws at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Adamson entered the fourth period with a 16-point lead, 56-40, but went without a field goal for the first nine minutes and eight seconds. Then Jhon Calisay nailed a layup with 52 seconds remaining in the game.
FEU rallied within six points, but fortunately for the Soaring Falcons, they held on to the win.
“We’re thankful that we won but we look for consistency in our game. I think in the fourth quarter, medyo we failed again. We were the ones leading and kami pa ang narattle. Something that we need to address,” said Racela.
“We’re thankful to FEU that they only pressured us in the fourth quarter when they were down big. Baka kung ginawa nila buong game, nag-iba yung complexion.”
Sabandal and Joshua Yerro acknowledged their sluggish performance in the fourth quarter. Both vowed to improve, especially without their known game-closer, Lastimosa.
Yerro had 11 points, while Sabandal scored 10 points, but both committed four turnovers each.
“Kailangan namin talaga yung consistency we need to work on that fourth quarter. Lalo na ako personally ,dapat hindi ako nagko-commit ng mga ganong turnover,” admitted Sabandal, who was Lastimosa’s backcourt partner.
Crucial yun para sa akin kailangan matuto ako doon kasi may five elimination games pang natira.”
Racela mentioned that, due to the suffocating press of the Tamaraws, bringing the ball down the court would be a responsibility shared by all the players on the floor, except for their centers.
The Falcons finally ended their three-game losing streak and improved to a 4-5 record, just half a game behind the fourth-running Ateneo de Manila University.
“It’s going to require a collective effort from everyone. We’re not singling out players like Joem, Montebon, Matty, and even Jed. It’s more about everyone, even our forwards like Magbuhos, all have responsibilities for bringing the ball down and directing the offense.”