Coming off their worst offensive output in three years, the Adamson University Soaring Falcons bounced back big, torching the skidding University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers, 96-83, Wednesday afternoon at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
With the win, the Soaring Falcons have clinched the second Final Four spot in the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament with a 9-3 record. They will make the semifinals for the third straight year.
“Well, of course, we are happy reaching the Final Four but we’ve been doing that for the last two years. Hopefully, we can improve our finish for this year,” said Adamson’s multi-titled head coach Franz Pumaren.
And it was Jerrick Ahanmisi who sparked the breakaway in the third canto.
After being limited to just two points in the first 20 minutes of the game, Ahanmisi – who was held down to just 10 points against Ateneo – connived with Jerom Lastimosa in the third frame. The duo scored eight points each, as the Soaring Falcons started the quarter with an 18-0 spurt to blow the game wide open.
Ahanmisi had 13 points, while Lastimosa added 10 markers.
“If you look at the game, we were playing tight in the first half. But when we settled down with our regular rotation, we were able to dispose of a very good team,” recalled Pumaren.
The quartet of Renzo Subido, Marvin Lee, Kenneth Zamora, and CJ Cansino tried to put up a late fightback, cutting the lead to as low as nine points. However, with Enric Caunan fouling out in the third quarter and Germy Mahinay busting out with 7:40 late, Sean Manganti, Simon Camacho, and Papi Sarr had their way in the paint to fend off any comeback.
Manganti had a game-high 22 points, while Camacho tallied his personal-best 15 markers. Sarr tallied a double-double for the first time in three games with 11 points and 14 boards to go along with two blocks.
“Kami naman is as far as I know, for us to be successful this year, we have to have a collective effort. We saw it that one player could not lift our team,” Pumaren added.
If this victory was a milestone for Adamson, the same could not be said for UST as they dropped their second straight game to fall to a full game behind the fourth-running UP Fighting Maroons and FEU Tamaraws with a 5-7 record.
UST were led by the backcourt duo of Subio and Lee scoring 21 and 18 points respectively. Super rookie CJ Cansino tallied a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Adamson will next face the University of the East Red Warriors on Saturday, November 10, at the SMART Araneta Coliseum. UST take on the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons on the same day in a virtual elimination match.
ADU 96 – Manganti 22, Camacho 15, Ahanmisi 13, Sarr 11, Lastimosa 10, Pingoy 9, Mojica 8, Mabuhos 4, Catapusan 2, Bernardo 2, Zaldivar 0, Espeleta 0
UST 83 – Subido 21, Lee 18, Cansino 17, Huang 8, Mahinay 8, Zamora 7, Bataller 2, Caunan 2, Marcos 0
Quarterscores: 21-20, 39-40, 70-58, 96-83