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Sarr’s 20-20 leads Adamson, sends UE to the brink

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“We just wanted to gain the respect of the other teams.”

That was the goal set by Adamson University head coach Mike Fermin to his troops prior to the season. After winning three games, the rookie head coach might have finally done so as the Soaring Falcons were able to make the crucial stops and avoid a meltdown, 74-71, against the University of the East Red Warriors Saturday afternoon at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Clark Derige, the hero of UE’s last game against the UST Growling Tigers, continued his hot-shooting to start off the game in knocking down two three-pointers for an early 6-2 lead. With 3:29 passing by in the opening quarter, Pape Sarr entered the game and was able to bring life to a stagnant Adamson offense. With the foreign student-athlete anchoring the defense, the Red Warriors had a tough time to penetrate the paint. On the other end, rookie JD Tungcab drove through the lanes with ease in scoring eight points in the quarter to give Adamson a 24-19 lead to end the opening quarter.

The Soaring Falcons opened the second quarter with two triples coming from Nico Capote and Carlo Escalambre that gave Adamson a 34-26 lead midway. With the Red Warriors offense continuing to struggle, Derige became the focal point of the UE offense as he scored six straight points to cut the Adamson lead to six while a fastbreak layup by Emil Palma cut the lead to just four. However, Sarr overpowered the thin UE frontline in scoring on a three-point play and was able to putback a Joseph Nalos that gave his team a seven point cushion with 13 ticks to go in the half. Edgar Charcos though was able to throw a desperation three that just beat the buzzer that cut the deficit to just four, 48-44, entering the second half.

The young Falcons opened the third quarter with a huge 16-0 blast behind the combined efforts of Jerome Garcia, Nalos, and Tungcab. The Red Warriors were very unlucky in missing their first 14 shots in the quarter that extended the Adamson lead to 64-44. The run was capped by a huge find by Nalos that led to a Pape Sarr tomahawk jam. The Derick Pumaren-mentored squad was only able to gain their first goal at the 3:38 mark with a Bonbon Batiller putback. The Red Warriors ended the quarter with a 9-1 spurt, mostly through free throws, to enter the final frame with a 65-54 lead.

Slowly, the Red Warriors were able to chip into the once-20 point lead with Chris Javier spearheading the run. The Red Warriors scored on a 12-2 spurt, with Javier scoring six points, to cut the lead to just a solitary point, 67-66, with 3:55 remaining. Tungcab was able to half the rally with free throws and a breakaway layup by William Polican extended the lead once more. However, Derige was able to knockdown a three-pointer and a fastbreak layup by Emil Palma cut the lead to 72-71 with 35.6 ticks left. After a Nalos turnover with 29.7 remaining, Charcos missed a three-pointer and free throws by Nalos extended the lead to three with 15.7 remaining. Chris Javier missed an open three pointer from the top of the arc that would have tied the game that gave Adamson a 74-71 win.

It’s a good morale-boosting win for us,” coach Mike Fermin said after the game. He also disclosed the talk he had with the boys after the game. “Sabi ko sa kanila hindi pa natin nakukuha ang respeto ng ibang team. Kelangan natin manalo ngayon para makuha iyon,” he said.

During the third quarter that saw Adamson gain the biggest lead of the game 64-44, Fermin said that they needed to come out aggressive in the third quarter. “We needed to win the first five minutes of the third quarter. Achilles kasi namin yun. Our target was to have a cushion lang.”

Sarr, who had a monstrous 20-20 game with 22 points and 20 boards, credited the work of his teammates in saying, “I needed to work but I could not get a 20-20 without my teammates. I trust my team and we never give up.”

Besides Sarr, rookie JD Tungcab also had an excellent outing with 14 points on 5/8 shooting and was able to grab six boards. Joseph Nalos added 11 markers and five dimes in the win.

For the Red Warriors, Quirino Province-native Clark Derige led the team in scoring with 17 points but was just 6/19 from the field. He was also able to grab ten boards. Emil Palma added 11 points in the loss.

As a team, Adamson shot 40% from the field compared to a dismal 31% by UE and was able to attempt 17 more free throws. In addition, the victors outrebounded their opponents 56-48 that led to a 17-12 second chance point advantage.

The Adamson Soaring Falcons (3-10) play their final game of the season as they face the UST Growling Tigers on Wednesday, November 11 at 2:00pm while the UE Red Warriors (4-8) face the Ateneo Blue Eagles on Saturday, November 14 at 2:00pm. The former is set to be played at the Smart Araneta Coliseum while the latter will be held at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Scores:
ADU (74) – Sarr 22, Tungcab 14, Nalos 11, Garcia 7, Escalambre 5, Ochea 5, Polican 5, Capote 3, Margallo 2, Bernardo 0, Fernandez 0, Villanueva 0.
UE (71) – Derige 17, Palma 11, Charcos 9, Javier 9, Varilla J. 8, Abanto 4, De Leon 4, Yu 4, Batiller 3, Santa Ana 2, Gagate 0, Manalang 0, Penuela 0, Varilla P. 0.
Quarterscores: 24-19, 48-44, 65-54, 74-71.

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