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Sarr, Nalos take over late as Adamson upsets La Salle

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Pape Sarr and the Adamson University Soaring Falcons have been falling short in their past few games. They have been working on their end-game execution according to their mentor, Mike Fermin.

Saturday afternoon, all their hardwork paid off as senior Joseph Nalos and Cameroonian student-athlete Pape Sarr took charge late in an to upset the De La Salle University Green Archers, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

In the first quarter, the Green Archers were able to start strong as Prince Rivero and Jeron Teng muscled their way against the frontline of Adamson. The duo combined for 14 first quarter points that gave DLSU an early lead. Returning from a one-game suspension, Joseph Las paced his team in the early-goings to keep close with their opponents. After an Adamson timeout midway through the first, Pape Sarr entered the game and was able to power his way through. The foreign student-athlete scored five points late in the first quarter to end the quarter with La Salle just up three points, 19-16.

Jeron Teng continued to power through the paint as he scored nine points in the second stanza. La Salle rookie Andrew Langston, who has been seeing limited time for La Salle, was also able to contribute off the bench as he waxed hot from the field. The Filipino-American converted on long-range jumpers en route to a seven point quarter. However, the San Marcelino cagers matched them shot for shot with Nalos spreading the floor well. He was able to find Sarr in the paint while opening things up as well for Jerome Garcia. Entering halftime, La Salle still retained their three-point cushion, 37-34.

The Taft-based squad went out of their locker room with guns blazing in the third quarter. Rivero, after getting some rest, scored four quick points for La Salle while Teng scored on an and-one to extend the La Salle lead to seven, 44-37. Not even a Mike Fermin timeout could stop the La Salle rampage as Rivero continued to punish the interior defense of Adamson. After another putback by Rivero, his eighth point in the quarter, rookie Andrei Caracut was able to score on a triple to give La Salle the biggest lead of the game, 57-41. In the ensuing play however, Teng fouled Gerald Fernandez that sent the Green-and-White squad into the penalty. The Falcons took advantage of this in attempting 11 free throws to end the quarter but were only able to convert on just five to go into the final quarter with La Salle up 11, 59-48.

After a triple by Thomas Torres and a layup by Teng to open the fourth, the Adamson Soaring Falcons switched their defense from a press to a 2-3 zone. The switch in defense forced the Archers to shoot from the outside, which delved away from their usual game. Nalos then sparked his team in scoring eight points in a 14-1 run that cut the lead to just a solitary point, 65-64, with 5:23 to go. The young Falcons were able to tie the game at the 3:36 mark with a Nalos floater. After a three-pointer by Torres was answered by a Capote triple, a turnover by a rusty Caracut led to a wide-open layup by Sarr that gave Adamson the lead. A dish by Teng to Rivero tied the game once more at 73-all with 1:59 remaining. After a flurry of turnovers by both teams and with the possession in favor of Adamson, Sarr posted Rivero on the block but just as Teng went in for the double team, Rivero fouled Sarr. The Cameroonian was able to convert on both free throws to give Adamson the lead once more with 15 ticks remaining. In the next play, Jeron Teng went for a drive but his layup was short but Rivero was their for the rebound and was fouled by Cristian Garcia. Rivero though would split the free throws but Adamson was called for a double-lane violation to give La Salle another shot. After an inbound, Caracut threw a line three-pointer but was set-off by a Nalos contest. The shot fell short as the time expired to give Adamson a 75-74 win, their second for the season.

“Again, as always, pag nananalo kami credit to the boys,” an enthusiastic Adamson head coach Mike Fermin said after the game. “The last game was a tough loss and the challenge was how to bring back their confidence and determination.” Fermin was grateful that the team’s managers gave the Falcons a pep talk to bring back the team’s confidence.

Joseph Nalos, who scored 12 points in the final quarter – 20 in the game, was repentant about what occurred during their tilt against Ateneo. “Hindi ko intention na saktan si Vince at gusto ko bumawi sa team dahil hindi ako nakatulong sa kanila,” the former SWU floor general said. Fermin also added that Nalos apologized to him, “bawi ka na lang next game,” he said to Nalos prior to this game. In dishing out six assists and successfully stealing the ball twice, Nalos more than made up for what he did with this monumental win.

Pape Sarr also had a monstrous outing for the San Mercilino cagers in scoring a game-high 23 points, on 8/14 shooting from the field and 7/11 from the foul stripe, and was able to grab 14 big boards.

For the Green Archers, Smart Elite ambassador Prince Rivero was able to score a season-high 23 points. He was 69% from the field and 71% from the stripe. He added 11 rebounds in the losing effort. Jeron Teng added 22 points, 15 coming from the first half, and dished out seven dimes. However, the fourth-year bruiser was a horrible 8/22 from the field.

As a team, the Falcons shot 40.63% from the field compared to the dismal 34.21% for the Taft-based squad. This shooting clip made up for the rebounding advantage La Salle had, 52-42.

The Adamson Soaring Falcons (2-9) are looking to build on this win as they face the FEU Tamaraws next on Wednesday, October 28 at 2:00pm while the DLSU Green Archers (5-5) look to bounce back against the NU Bulldogs on the same day at 4:00pm.

The Scores:
ADU (75)– Sarr 23, Nalos 20, Garcia J 13, Capote 6, Fernandez 5, Bernardo 2, Garcia C 2, Polican 2, Villanueva 2, Camacho 0, Escalambre 0, Miranda 0, Ochea 0, Tungcab 0.
DLSU (74) – Rivero 23, Teng 22, Langston 8, Torres 7, Torralba 4, Caracut 3, Muyang 3, Perkins 3, Tratter 1, Go 0, Sargent 0.
Quarterscores: 16-19, 34-37, 48-59, 75-74.

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