The Adamson University Soaring Falcons were ahead after one half of basketball. It was all downhill for them after that. The University of the East Red Warriors, led by marksman Pedrito Galanza, pulled away from the struggling Falcons, 72-59, to clinch their 5th victory. Slow starts for UE’s dynamic duo of Roi Sumang and Charles Mammie meant the Warriors needed to find offense elsewhere, and swingman Galanza delivered. Galanza torched the Falcons for 20 points bolstered by 4 triples, more than half his team’s total of 7. Adamson’s Don Trollano, again playing heavy minutes for Head Coach Kenneth Duremdes, scored 18 points on 18 shots to lead the Soaring Falcons. The Red Warriors’ win puts them at 0.500 with a 5-5 slate, just outside the playoff picture. The 0-10 Soaring Falcons, already eliminated from postseason contention, rue another missed chance to salvage some pride in a disappointing Season 77.
For 20 minutes, the Adamson Soaring Falcons were the better team on the hardwood at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Crisp passing and dedicated off-ball movement confounded the Red Warriors’ defence, earning the Falcons a plethora of close-range looks. Adamson’s small-ball starting line-up, featuring makeshift centre Dawn Ochea, proved to be more than a match for UE’s lofty frontcourt in the early goings. The undersized but undaunted Falcons outrebounded the Warriors on both the offensive and defensive ends in the first half, hauling in 22 boards, 10 on the offensive glass, to UE’s 20 and 8. The Soaring Falcons were unable to create decisive separation from their rivals in red though, as Pedrito Galanza and reserve RR De Leon combined for 21 points in the first half alone, keeping the Warriors within striking distance. The tipping point for UE came early in the third. A technical foul on Adamson’s Asst. Coach Vince Hizon gave Pedrito Galanza and the Red Warriors two freebies and consequently, the lead, 35-34. The Galanza FTs would be the first 2 points in a 7-0 run that would firmly hand the advantage to UE. Charles Mammie, scoreless in the first half, awakened in the third stanza, reinforcing the Red Warriors’ momentum. Mammie poured in 12 second-half points on a perfect 4/4 clip, as the Red Warriors slowly but surely stamped their authority on the faltering Falcons. Three consecutive UE triples in the final period put the Red Warriors definitely beyond Adamson’s reach, and Mammie capped the win with a monster slam in the dying seconds of the game.
Despite a sluggish opening half, UE’s superstar Roi Sumang quietly contributed 8 points and 3 assists to the Red Warrior cause. Substitute RR De Leon was fantastic for the Warriors in the win as well, scoring 12 points on a remarkably consistent array of mid-range jumpers. In a rare competitive game, the Falcons will lament a poor night by star Jansen Rios, who could only manage 9 points on 13 shots. A bright spot for Kenneth Duremdes, with his inclination towards smaller, versatile line-ups, was the sparkling play of Dawn Ochea. The undersized big man hustled and bustled his way to 12 points, and more impressively against UE’s beefy frontline, 8 rebounds, 7 on the offensive side.