MANILA, Philippines — Even its head coach admitted, Adamson had luck on its side in its 68-66 victory over National University Saturday in the UAAP season 76 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
With the Falcons holding on to a precarious two-point edge with 14.4 seconds left, shooter Roider Cabrera muffed two pressure-packed freethrows that kept the door ajar for the Bulldogs.
NU found a wide-open Robin Roño in the right corner for the final shot, ready to unleash a game-winning triple — but ultimately missed which paved way for Adamson’s their third victory.
“We’re fortunate that we were able to pull off a win. We had luck. Thank God Roño missed that shot, or else our efforts would be for nothing,” said a relieved Leo Austria.
But they didn’t depend on luck to get the lead back in the last 3:36 of the game, as the Falcons went on an 8-0 run to give them a 68-63 lead.
Guard Jericho Cruz had back-to-back buckets in that stretch to cap his second half explosion. He finished with a game-best 18 points.
Rodney Brondial also soared high on defense, swatting away attempts, with impeccable timing, from Ray Parks, Jelo Alolino and Jeff Javillonar in the last two minutes.
The Bulldogs, though, still managed to pull within a basket away of victory after Ray Parks’ and-one play with 15.5 seconds left – before missing on the the most important shot.
NU dropped to under .500 in the standings, tying with University of the East with a 3-3 record. Adamson, meanwhile, improved to 3-2.
Cameroonian center Ingrid Sewa continued to struggle for Adamson, bother by his shoulder, and just had six points but with 13 boards.
Brondial, despite struggling offensively on 2-of-8 shooting, still had tremendous impact on the other side with six blocks.
“I’m happy. We were organized today unlike. I don’t know what happened to us against Ateneo but today everybody was focused to win,” also said Austria.
Cruz came out firing after the half as he poured most of his points in the third quarter, where the Falcons managed to halt NU’s press before it causes them more trouble.
But the Bulldogs still led 61-57 in the fourth on basket from Emmanuel Mbe, but went without a field goal for the next six minutes before Parks’ basket.