Adamson University locked up the third seed after withstanding a late fightback by University of the Philippines, 86-70, in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Soaring Falcons rose to 9-4 record while the Fighting Maroons dropped to fifth with a 5-7 record, a full game behind fourth seed Far Eastern University, which booted University of the East out earlier.
UP clawed back from a 21 points down, 69-48, with Paul Desiderio capping off an 18-5 run that cut Adamson’s lead down to just eight, 74-66, with still five minutes left.
The Falcons, however, responded with a 12-0 run near the end of the game to rebuild a 20-point lead, 86-66, with less than 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
And as the Falcons secured their semifinals spot, head coach Franz Pumaren said they had already settled into the reality that they are one step closer to their title aspiration.
“Our mentality is Final Four mode already,” said Pumaren. “During this stretch, every game is a learning process for us, a learning experience for us.”
“In the time that we made run, I didn’t call a timeout, for me that’s one way of trusting my players, one way of making them feel that they should rise above the challenge.”
Sarr led the way for the Fal ons with a 25-point, 17-rebound double-double while Jerie Pingoy had 15 points, eight assists, six steals, and zero turnovers.
Desiderio led the Fighting Maroons with 20 points while Javi Gomez de Liaño had 10 points and 10 boards.