Day of upsets
ADAMSON and University of the Philippines each had three wins last season.
The Falcons have matched that total this early.
The Falcons and the Maroons came up with notable upsets in what turned out to be a day of surprises in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament yesterday at Mall of Asia Arena.
“If you mentioned to me during the preseason that after the fourth game we’d be second in the team standings, I’d probably be telling everybody you’re trying to pull my leg,” Adamson coach Franz Pumaren said after his Falcons stunned yet another favorite in National University, 64-51, for an unexpected 3-1 start.
“I’m so amazed, so surprised with the maturity my players are showing,” added Pumaren. “We didn’t run away from the challenge and kept our poise.”
The long suffering Maroons do not share the Falcons’ lofty perch. But at least, they have a win to show finally this season. And coach Bo Perasol is understandably elated.
“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel and this is some kind of light for us,” said Perasol. “It’s proof and evidence that we can win games against a tough team like UE.”
The Maroons tripped University of the East, 75-71, for their first triumph in four games, and right after the buzzer, game hero Paul Desiderio jumped into Perasol’s arms, hugging and screaming in what may seem like an over-the-top celebration for just an early-season win.
Just how tough had it been for the Maroons? Perasol described it as like “struggling within a struggle,” noting he understands bonfire celebrations for every UP win.
“It’s difficult for us because we’re trying to overcome a lot of things in our minds,” said Perasol.
But it turned out different this time with Perasol noting the Maroons played composed in the final stretch, where Jett Manuel also nailed the go-ahead basket, 71-69, and two more buffer free throws, 73-69, with 26.9 seconds left.
“Jett and Paul looked like they were almost crying because there’s that hump,” Perasol said of Desiderio (17 points and 10 rebounds) and Manuel (17 points). “At the back of their minds, [they think]—are we going 0-14? But one hump is over and all we’re thinking now is the next game.”
Pumaren also liked how confidence has started to rub on his bench players.
“Coming into this game, people may scout us and think we’re only a (Jerrick) Ahanmisi, (Rob) Manalang and Papi Sarr team,” said Pumaren. “But this time around, our bench really contributed.”
UP 75—Manuel 17, Desiderio 17, Moralde 13, Gomez de Liano 7, Dario 7, Lim 5, Harris 4, Prado 2, Lao 2, Romero 0, Asilum 0, Webb 0, Longa 0.
UE 71—Olayon 15, Batiller 14, Abanto 11, Derige 9, Palma 9, Manalang 7, Charcos 4, Pasaol 2, Varilla 0, Bartolome 0, Gagate 0, Acuno 0, Penuela 0, De Leon 0, Larupay 0.
Quarters: 16-19, 34-37, 57-58, 75-71
ADAMSON 64—Sarr 13, Tungcab 11, Manganti 9, Ahanmisi 8, Bernardo 7, Mustre 5, Espeleta 4, Ochea 3, Manalang 2, Camacho 2, Pasturan 0, Ng 0, Paranada 0, Chua 0.
NU 51—Aroga 17, Salem 9, Salim 7, Mosqueda 4, Morido 4, Diputado C 3, Pate 3, Gallego 2, Sinclair 2, Alejandro 0, Diputado R 0, Abatayo 0, Aquino 0, Rangel 0, Yu 0.
Quarters: 17-13, 29-28, 42-40, 64-51
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