Doomed by inconsistency, Adamson Falcons falter in the clutch
MANILA, Philippines—Although it looked like Adamson buckled under pressure, coach Leo Austria thinks his Falcons’ semifinal loss to Far Eastern University showed they still lacked the experience to go all the way.
“When it comes to basketball experience, they (Tamaraws) have the advantage,” said Austria. “This is the first time we experienced this. We made many people believe. We made many people think that we’re a strong team. But as it turned out, we’re not that solid yet.”
The No. 2 Falcons looked primed for the UAAP men’s basketball title especially after earning bragging rights as the only squad to beat three-time champion Ateneo in the eliminations.
And when Adamson clinched the twice-to-beat semifinal bonus—a first in the team’s history since the league introduced the Final Four format in 1994—the Falcons looked on the way to completing a dream season.
But the Tamaraws spoiled their bid with a dominant 59-49 win in their first Final Four meeting last Thursday, before completing the rare conquest of a No. 2 semifinalist three days later, 78-74.
“We tried our best but credit also goes to the other team (Tamaraws), their basketball sense is deeper than most teams, including us,” said Austria.
The Falcons were hoping to reach the Finals for the first time since 1992, but instead, they became the seventh team in the league to waste a twice-to-beat edge.
They also missed their best chance to win a title as four key veterans—Lester Alvarez and Jerick Cañada, Janus Lozada and Jan Colina—played their last season.
But Alex Nuyles, the high-flying swingman named to this year’s Mythical Team, will still return next season hoping to redeem the Falcons.
“With this experience, I hope they’ll mature,” said Austria.
The Falcons will be a mere spectator when the Blue Eagles fight for a fourth straight crown against the Tamaraws in a rematch of last year’s Finals.
Game 1 of the best-of-three series starts at 3 p.m. this Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“I’m predicting Ateneo wil prevail,” said Austria, whose son Bacon plays backup forward for the Eagles. “They know what to do, and with their lineup, they’re virtually unbeatable.”
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