It took eight games, but the Adamson University Soaring Falcons finally did it.
Limiting the De La Salle University Green Archers to a record-low first quarter outing, the Soaring Falcons were able to hold off their opponents late, picking up a 57-50 victory on Saturday afternoon at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
This is Franz Pumaren’s first win over his former squad since his return to collegiate sports. Moreover, this is Adamson’s first win over La Salle since October 27, 2015, which saw the former pick up a 75-74 win under then-head coach Mike Fermin.
“Well, just like what I mentioned prior to this game, it just so happened that we are playing La Salle. We just treated this game as a game we needed to win to maintain our position now,” said Pumaren, who was 0-7 against La Salle prior to this game.
And it was defense that did it for Adamson.
“I think we really prepared pretty well against La Salle. Everyone was excited to play them today because we are able to recover in that debacle against La Salle during the first round,” recalled Pumaren, as Adamson had lost to La Salle in the first round, 78-79 in overtime, last October 13. “I think it’s good that we are able to recover and that’s the best thing for our program.”
La Salle were limited to just two points in the first quarter, only picking up their first field goal with 8:38 left in the second quarter – a power move by Justine Baltazar inside. Prior to that Baltazar bucket, the Green Archers had been 0-of-20 from the field.
The Green Archers’ two-point first quarter is the worst start for any team since 2003. The previous low was three points, Adamson and NU had that record of futility back in July 30, 2014 and August 27, 2009, respectively.
Moreover, it is the worst quarter scoring in league history, tying the mark by Adamson during the second quarter of their 25-62 loss to the NU Bulldogs back in July 30, 2014.
“I guess what really transpired in this game is our defense. We showed today that we are able to control them,” added Pumaren.
Behind Aljun Melecio, the Green Archers mounted a comeback in the final frame, scoring back-to-back triples to cut the lead down to just a solitary point with 6:06 left. But Sean Manganti and Jerie Pingoy answered right back with cold-blooded triples to restore order with 3:31 remaining.
Manganti towed Adamson with 19 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a block.
“Sean played pretty well. They rejected Sean and we got him. That shows that our program knows how to develop players,” shared Pumaren.
Papi Sarr added 12 points and 15 rebounds, while Jerie Pingoy scattered six points, five rebounds, and five assists. Jerrick Ahanmisi was limited to just nine points on 3-of-12 shooting.
With the win, Adamson are now on top of the standings with a 7-2 record, while La Salle drop to a 5-4 record.
La Salle shot just 26 percent from the field.
Melecio led La Salle with 18 points but needed 23 field goal attempts. Encho Serrano added 10 points from off the bench duties. The twin tower combination of Justine Baltazar and Santi Santillan combined to shoot just 5-for-15 from the field, with the latter grabbing 15 rebounds.
Adamson look to continue their streak when they face the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons on Sunday, October 28, at the Filoil Flying V Centre. La Salle, on the other hand, look to bounce back when they take on the Far Eastern University Tamaraws on Saturday, October 27, at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
ADU 57 – Manganti 19, Sarr 12, Ahanmisi 9, Pingoy 6, Camacho 4, Lastimosa 3, Magbuhos 2, Zaldivar 2, Catapusan 0, Mojica 0, Espeleta 0, Bernardo 0
DLSU 50 – Melecio 18, Serrano 10, Baltazar 6, Santillan 5, Montalbo 4, Dyke 4, Manuel 2, Caracut 1, Bates 0, Corteza 0
Quarterscores: 9-2, 28-21, 41-35, 57-50