Arguably, the Adamson University Lady Falcons have the toughest stretch among the last three teams that have yet to clinch a playoff spot. But don’t tell that to Ewon Arayi and her team.
Needing this win to have control of their own destiny, the Lady Falcons dug deep, stunning Clare Castro and the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws in overtime, 73-69, Tuesday afternoon at the Blue Eagle Gym in Quezon City.
With the win, Adamson lift their record to 8-5 to tie the DLSU Lady Archers for third and fourth. The UST Golden Tigresses, who are half-a-game behind, are playing the UE Lady Warriors as of publishing.
Besides strengthening their Final Four push, the Lady Falcons gave themselves a chance for an outright semis berth, as they dropped the Lady Tamaraws to 9-4.
“Ang motivation ko lang sa mga bata ay umuwi kami ng masaya. Tama na yung lungkot, mag-Dedecember na,” expressed Adamson legend Ewon Arayi. “Kumbaga yung joy, binuhos nila yung lahat eh pati si [Mariz] Cacho at mga second-stringer namin. At the same time malaking bagay din sa amin yung leadership ni Mar [Prado] at ni [Jamie] Alcoy. Off si [Kristeena] Camacho pero bumawi siya sa depensa.”
Though she has no pressure to make it to the Final Four, Arayi disclosed that it was her players that push themselves to find their limit.
“As a coach, hindi ako napre-pressure dahil first season ko pa lang naman dito,” said the rookie mentor. “Sino mage-expect na papasok ako sa Final Four in my first year? Pero yung pressure ay nasa players namin dahil team na ito last year pa. Walang rason para matalo kami.”
And it showed during the dying seconds of regulation.
Down by as much as 11 points in the game and five with 37 ticks left, Cacho showed no fear, pulling up from way downtown to chop the lead down to just two. In the next possession, Clare Castro – who stands at 6-foot-4 – had her shot swatted away by Jo Razalo, which led to a basket by Jamie Alcoy with 19 ticks left that sent the match into overtime.
Alcoy led the way for Adamson with 18 points, while Razalo had 14 points and six boards. Cacho added 11 markers spiked by three triples.
In overtime, Prado and the Lady Falcons played their hearts out to complete their season sweep of FEU. With Adamson holding on to just a solitary point lead, Prado took charge, knocking down a triple and scoring on a jumper to stave off FEU. Free throws by Alcoy sealed the pivotal victory.
“Sabi ko nga kay Mar, walang ‘I’ sa team pero may ‘I’ sa win. Ibig-sabihin, ikaw ang nagdala,” shared Arayi.
Prado had a dominant outing with 16 points and 21 boards to go along with four assists and three steals.
Castro was still a beast in the game, finishing with 19 points on 9-of-14 shooting to go along with 20 rebounds.
“Alam naman natin domenante si Clare. Alam naman natin na may laban siya. Basta ibigay mo sa kanya, ang galing ng mga coaches niya, tignan mo naman lagi pasok. Lamang sila sa height pero puso sa puso may laban kami,” Arayi remarked as the shorter Adamson squad out-rebounded FEU, 53-50. Moreover, the Lady Falcons were scrappy all game long, forcing 26 turnovers that led to 15 points.
Floor general Fatima Quiapo scattered 12 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds. Blance Bahuyan had 12 markers as well.
Adamson look to complete their rise to contenders when they close out their elimination round campaign against the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles on Friday, November 15. On the same day, FEU will hope they can score an upset against the National University Lady Bulldogs.
ADU 73 — Alcoy 18, Prado 16, Razalo 14, Cacho 11, Camacho 7, Araja 4, Bilbao 2, Tandaan 1, Aciro 0, Rosario 0, Osano 0.
FEU 69 — Castro 19, Bahuyan 12, Quiapo 12, Mamaril 11, Taguiam 7, Adriano 6, Bastatas 2, Payadon 0, Antiola 0, Dugay 0, Vidal 0.
Quarterscores: 20-16, 26-26, 40-50, 60-60, 73-69.