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State U gets back at Adamson in foulfest

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After an embarrassing loss to the hapless Adamson University Soaring Falcons, the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons needed two hours and 30 minutes to break their five-game losing streak Saturday afternoon at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The game was marred by fouls left and right by both squads in the second half. After a first half that finally saw the UP Fighting Maroons put up points in the first quarter, the troika of Agustini Amar, Jett Manuel, and Diego Dario were able to rally the Diliman cagers with a 7-1 rally to open the second half with a 51-37 lead. However, slowly UP big men Cheick Kone, Andrew Harris, and Mark Juruena were dumbfounded on defense as Pape Sarr and the UP wings drove hard to grab fouls. It resulted to a total of ten fouls in the quarter and 19 free throw attempts for the Soaring Falcons. The Maroons though still kept their lead at the end of the third canto due to careless turnovers by their opponents and conversions by Paul Desiderio and Henry Asilum.

The UP lead grew to a game-high 76-61 with 7:42 to go in the final stanza of the game. After a timeout by Adamson head coach Mike Fermin, the hero in their first round encounter, Jerome Garcia converted on back-to-back triples to cut the lead to seven with 4:48 to go. Moreover, the UP offense was held without a field goal for the next four minutes and 12 seconds. A long jumper by Dario momentarily halted the drought but was answer right back by a three-pointer JD Tungcab to cut the UP lead to just four, 78-74, at the 3:19 mark of the third. The game though became foul-plagued as both squads could not commit on the defensive end. A total of 13 fouls were given up by both squads in the final 3:30 of the game. Missed free throws by the Falcons, missed inside baskets by Sarr, and careless turnovers led to the Falcons’ demise. In addition, conversions from the foul stripe by Manuel, Asilum, and Dario gave the Maroons an 89-84 win to break their five-game funk.

“Throughout the last three weeks, our emotions were down. On the bright side, iyon din ang nagtest sa amin to be a team,” UP head coach Rensy Bajar said after the game. “Sobra yung emotions namin nun. Pero ngayon na figure-out namin kung panu namin ma-overcome ito.”

Bajar also disclosed that the team went on a team building at the Holiday Inn in Malate last night to build energy on their team. He credits the win to the collective effort including the utility team to finally break the five-game losing streak.

Manuel though admitted that he wanted to get back from the loss to Adamson last week. “As a competitor, we wanted to get back,” the Smart Elite ambassador admitted. “We took it as a challenge.” The UP senior also said that the win is dedicated to the injured Jerson Prado, who suffered a broken knee.

The referees were busy the entire game as they blew the whistle 61 times for fouls. The Fighting Maroons shot 21/28 from the charity stripe while Adamson shot 33/45 from that distance. Even in outrebounding the hosts 57-31, the Falcons shot poorly from the field in shooting 32.26% from the field.

Henry Asilum played his best game of the season with 19 points on 6/11 shooting. Jett Manuel also bounced back from two scoreless outings in scoring 16 points on 5 of 9 shooting and grabbed eight boards.

For the Soaring Falcons, Pape Sarr grabbed a double-double with 18 points and 17 boards. He was just 1/6 from the field but converted on 16 free throws on 22 attempts. Jerome Garcia added 12 markers.

The UP Fighting Maroons (3-5) will the FEU Tamaraws on Wednesday, October 14, 4:00pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum while the Adamson Soaring Falcons (1-7) will have the Ateneo Blue Eagles as their next assignment on Saturday, October 17 at 4:00pm.

The Scores:
UP (89) – Asilum 19, Manuel 16, Dario 14, Amar 13, Desiderio 8, Longa 8, Juruena 7, Harris 2, Moralde 2, Kone 0, Jaboneta 0, Lim 0, Vito 0.
ADU (84) – Sarr 18, Garcia J. 12, Margallo 11, Nalos 8, Ng 8, Capote 7, Escalambre 5, Garcia C. 5, Tungcab 5, Polican 3, Ochea 2, Camacho 0.
Quarterscores: 19-16, 44-36, 68-56, 89-84.

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