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Sean the man

Manganti bounces back from scoreless outing with shot that keeps Falcons soaring start intact
By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 05:25 AM September 27, 2018

Adamson was supposed to be toast: Bright Akhuetie had a 20-20, Juan Gomez de Liano was having one of his torrid shooting nights, University of the Philippines had a one-point lead in the final five seconds and the Falcons’ last chance almost ended up in a turnover off a muffed pass.

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But in the scramble for possession, Sean Manganti recovered the loose ball after nearly throwing it away on an errant, ill-advised feed, and was pretty sure he hadn’t heard the buzzer just yet.

“I was taught to never quit until you hear the buzzer so I just kept going until… the buzzer,” Manganti, Adamson’s senior skipper, said.

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Manganti lofted an attempt that swished the net with seven-tenths of a second remaining and when the buzzer finally sounded, Adamson was the owner of a 69-68 victory over UP and the UAAP men’s basketball tournament’s only unbeaten record Wednesday.

Manganti finished with 18 points, hitting six of 11 attempts  just five days after going scoreless and missing all his seven attempts from the field in a victory over University of Santo Tomas.

“We just wanted to attack,” said Falcons coach Franz Pumaren on his final play. “Sean was being too generous when he tried to pass to Papi (Sarr), but that’s a shot he practices all the time.”

Banking on a balanced offensive performance, defending champion Ateneo stayed in the coattails of Adamson after an 89-62 rout of UE in the first game.

Raffy Verano fired 12 points, before limping out of the game in the third period due to an ankle injury, while William Navarro had 11 points for the Eagles, who improved to 3-1.

No player saw action for more than 23 minutes for the Eagles as coach Tab Baldwin utilized all of his players to fend off every uprising by the Warriors now coached by one of his former assistants, Joe Silva.

Akhuetie came up with a performance that finally showed why he is this season’s player to watch. The transferee from Perpetual help had 20 points and 20 rebounds and rescued an air-balled trey for a put-pack that gave UP a one-point lead in the final 5.7 seconds remaining.

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De Liano, meanwhile, finished with 21 points to lead the Maroons, making five of 13 attempts from beyond the arc, as he engineered a third-quarter uprising by UP, which pushed the Falcons behind, 47-57.

But Jonathan Espeleta, Jerrick Ahanmisi and Manganti crafted a 22-11 fourth quarter to keep the Falcons on top at 4-0.

“We’re not too deep of a team to veer away from our system,” said Pumaren on his team’s poor start in the second half. “We cannot think that other teams will just roll over against us. We were selfish, but I appreciate the players for really pushing themselves and keeping their composure.”

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TAGS: Adamson, Bright Akhuetie, Juan Gomez de Liano, Sean Manganti, University of the Philippines
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