Nuyles was the lone Falcon soaring Thursday as his teammates namely Lester Alvarez, Eric Camson and Jerick Canada were bullied by the Tamaraws of Far Eastern University.
The six-foot-two Nuyles, who sprained his left ankle in the final minute of the contest after apparently stepping on someone’s foot, exploded for a game-high 20 points, and that alone outscored Alvarez, Camson and Canada’s combined output by four.
“Obviously I need my teammates to help me for us to win,” said Nuyles, who also grabbed six rebounds and went to the line 12 times.
And coach Leo Austria took notice of the unlikely offensive futility.
“Guys we have to play and fight as a team. Only one player scored in double-digits [for us]. Ang sumunod is six, five and five,” Austria told his wards inside the locker room following the 49-59 defeat.
“I don’t know if you guys are nervous but look, they [FEU] are trying to frustrate you by pushing and shoving. Believe in yourselves,” Austria added.
Alvarez opened up the game with his patented quick-release triple that sent an overwhelming Adamson crowd in a frenzy but that’s all the Falcons fans in attendance could scream about the five-foot-nine guard’s performance.
And Alvarez himself knows he has to up his game and put up at least his usual numbers for the Falcons to nail that last Finals berth.
“I had an off-night but also credit to FEU for its physical defense. We will look at the game tape and we’ll see where we can adjust,” said Alvarez.
And it’s not only the adjustment to the Tams’ physical defense that Alvarez and the rest of the Adamson players have to be wary off come Sunday. It’s also their scintillating backcourt of RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo that had the Falcons scratching their heads.
Garcia showed why he is a one-time MVP with 16 points and eight rebounds while Romeo flashed his arsenal of moves en route to a team-high 19 markers.
“FEU is a very hard team to beat, I think they are the best team in the league in terms of talent and they also have a deep bench,” praised Austria. “Their guards are also instrumental.”
Adamson is raring for its first UAAP finals appearance since 1992 and will now have to take the harder route after blowing a twice-to-beat incentive.
Austria reminded his players that the good thing about having a twice-to-beat edge is that ‘we are given one more chance’ and that this season, the Falcons have yet to lose back to back games.
“After 15 games, eight months of preparation, we are left with one game. Let’s make the most out of it [on Sunday],” Austria continued.
He also mentioned the Adamson faithfuls in full support visibly outnumbering the FEU side.
“Tignan niyo naman yung crowd, all out support. Let’s give back to them,” Austria said.
Adamson and FEU will dispute the last finals berth on Sunday with the Falcons, despite losing the mental edge apart from the twice-to-beat, will still be the favored squad among the two with Nuyles, Alvarez, Camson and Canada in the fold.
Austria told the Inquirer before the FInal Four kicked off that in these pressure-packed moments, it’s Nuyles’ time to shine.
Nuyles shone, as he tried to carry Adamson on his weary back but for the Falcons to pull through against a dangerous FEU, Austria said it during his post-game talk in the dugout: “Forget this game…we need to be together. Sacrifice. Sama-sama tayo.”