Falcons fend off Tigers for 3-0 start
Adamson stayed undefeated but needed to scrape past University of Santo Tomas, 79-71, in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Jerrick Ahanmisi led the way with 20 points while also drawing ample contributions from the Falcons’ supporting cast for a 3-0 start.
“My bench players proved that they are capable of stepping up,” said Adamson head coach Franz Pumaren.
“I think it was a good test for us to show how well we play as a team down the stretch,” said Ahanmisi, who thrived in the crucial stages with nine points in the fourth quarter.
Vince Magbuhos had 15 points and four steals, Jonathan Espeleta scored 12 points while Simon Camacho collected nine points, eight rebounds and three steals for Adamson, which also got it done on the defensive end.
Applying their vaunted full-court pressure from tipoff, the Falcons forced the Growling Tigers to commit a season-high 27 turnovers that led to 29 easy points.
Kristian Bernardo and Jerom Lastimosa also provided Adamson a lift with starters Papi Sarr and Sean Manganti not in top form.
“In case you didn’t now, Papi is not 100 percent. He just played through sickness. Same thing with Sean, he’s not 100 percent his foot is bothering him,” Pumaren said.
Despite having trouble with Adamson’s defense, the Growling Tigers still found themselves in the thick of the fight and even took a three-point lead late in the third quarter behind rookie forward CJ Cansino and veteran guard Marvin Lee, who combined for 16 of the Tigers’ 23 points.
Cansino sustained his strong play in the final frame to keep UST within striking distance but the Tigers just couldn’t keep it together down the stretch.
With UST down five, Joshua Marcos got called for an illegal screen that led to a jumper by Latimosa on the other end to beat the shot clock for a 76-69 cushion with only 49.8 seconds remaining.
Cansino scored a team-high 18 points and grabbed five rebounds while Lee finished with 16. Steve Akomo posted a near double-double effort with eight points and 12 rebounds for UST, which slipped to 1-2.