Sleepless nights spent scouting Ateneo all worth it for Adamson coach Pumaren
Ateneo had the most fruitful of summers among the eight teams of the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament having finished fourth in the Jones Cup as the Philippine representative and taking the title in the Filoil Preseason Cup.
All that exposure and success made the Blue Eagles the undisputed target of the seven other teams in the UAAP and that was what Adamson University just did.
The Soaring Falcons pulled off the season’s first upset in stunning the defending champions Blue Eagles, 74-70, and that was thanks in large part to Adamson’s scouting.
Guard Jerrick Ahanmisi said the Falcons spent an inordinate amount of time studying Ateneo’s plays, quirks, and tendencies just to prepare for their matchup in the season’s opening weekend.
“Coach (Franz Pumaren) prepared us a lot and very well, we started scouting them months ago before this game and the coaches did a very good job and whoever was on the floor played a hundred percent,” said Ahanmisi, who finished with 23 points on 8-of-17 shooting.
All that work scouting Ateneo showed with how Adamson was able to defend the Blue Eagles inside as well as their pick-and-rolls.
The Falcons’ stingy defense in the paint forced the Eagles to go 8-of-22 on layups, tip-ins, and dunks and make them lean more on their outside shooting.
“I think it worked to our advantage [that Ateneo had so much exposure] because we were able to scout them and dissect them and these gave me sleepless nights,” said Pumaren. “You could imagine the stacks of videos I have.”
With the paint becoming an off-limits zone, Ateneo had no choice but to rely on its jump shots, which didn’t fall as often as it it would’ve wanted as the Blue Eagles converted on a meager 12-of-49 clip overall and 8-of-35 from deep.
Adamson went 14-of-25 on point-blank shots and 12-of-42 on its jumpers, not a lot of disparity with Ateneo, but the Soaring Falcons displayed the grittier approach in crunch time.
Right after Thirdy Ravena scored on a put-back dunk off of Isaac Go’s forced three to tie the game at 70 with 1:01 left to play, the Soaring Falcons responded with the game’s most hard-fought field goal.
Sean Manganti bricked a transition 3-pointer but Papi Sarr was there for the follow-up layup with just 39.4 seconds to play for the 72-70 Soaring Falcon lead.
Pumaren, however, said that the same could happen to them with the teams now eyeing the Soaring Falcons as a potential threat to the championship after their shock win.
“We still have to prove ourselves, you know winning one game in the opening weekend and winning one game against Ateneo doesn’t make you a championship team,” said Pumaren.
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