Facing one of the fastest teams in the league, the Adamson University Soaring Falcons gutted it out and made big plays down the stretch to stave off the National University Bulldogs, 83-76, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Both teams sport identical 2-2 slates.
“We’ve been going through a tough situation health-wise over the past few games. This is big for us just to get back on our feet,” said Adamson head coach Franz Pumaren.
Papi Sarr topped the Falcons with a splendid double-double of 19 points and 13 boards. Jerie Pingoy, who hit a couple of crucial treys in the fourth quarter, amassed 12 points and six steals.
In stark contrast to their past matches, the Falcons got off to a scorching start, taking an 11-3 lead after forcing NU into turnovers. The Bulldogs eventually got back into the game, with Jjay Alejandro draining a pair of triples that allowed NU to force a 19-all tie entering the second frame.
The match dragged into a tedious exchange before the Falcons found their groove late in the second canto. Beginning with a steal and drawing an unsportsmanlike foul on Jordan Bartlett, Adamson guard Jerie Pingoy sparked a 14-0 closing run through heady defense and put the Falcons ahead 43-32 at halftime.
From there, both teams dragged the pace of the game into slobber-knocker. The Bulldogs limited their turnovers in the second half. The Falcons responded with improved halfcourt execution.
Jjay Alejandro burst out of the second half with three straight baskets before the Falcons pulled off a run that kept them ahead 51-42. A Jonathan Espeleta triple gave Adamson a 60-47 lead, before the Bulldogs got the lead down to a manageable 10 points, 60-50, heading into the fourth period.
A barrage of three-pointers from both sides opened the payoff period, in which the Falcons came out on top, 69-60. The Bulldogs managed to come within seven points, 76-69, after a Jordan Bartlett and-one conversion. But an ensuing 5-0 Adamson run iced the game with less than three minutes on the game clock.
“We’re happy that we got the win. But, we’re hopeful we can keep this going,” said Adamson sophomore guard Jerrick Ahanmisi who tallied 13 points, four rebounds, and five assists.
Jjay Alejandro was the only Bulldog in double-digits with a game-high 25 points on 10-for-20 shooting.
Adamson will have a week off before Franz Pumaren and his team face Derrick Pumaren and the University of the East Red Warriors at 4:00pm. NU, on the other hand, face the Far Eastern University Tamaraws on Wednesday, September 27, at 2:00pm.
AdU (83) – Sarr 19, Ahanmisi 13, Espeleta 13, Pingoy 12, Manganti 5, Ochea 4, Camacho 4, Bernardo 4, Mustre 3, Manalang 2, Lojera 2, Zaldivar 2, Paranada 0.
NU (76) – Alejandro 25, Gaye 8, Bartlett 7, Lastimosa 7, Aquino 6, Mosqueda 6, Salem 3, Joson 3, Yu 3, Morido 2, Rangel 2, Diputado 2, Tibayan 2, Abatayo 0, Cauilan 0, Flores 0.
Quarterscores: 19-19, 43-32, 60-50, 83-76.
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