‘Disappointed’ Manganti still confident ahead of KO tiff vs UP
Sean Manganti has broken the hearts of University of the Philippines for the past two years, but in the Final Four of the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament it was his turn to feel utmost sadness.
The Fighting Maroons stunned Adamson University, 73-71, in the semifinal opener Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena prompting the second seeded Soaring Falcons to use their twice-to-beat advantage.
“We’re disappointed but you got to give them credit,” said a distraught Manganti. “They came out strong, they had a great game, and made some clutch baskets. Got to give it up to them.”
What made the blow even harder was Adamson went undefeated against the Fighting Maroons in the elimination round.
What transpired in the first game of the semifinals saw the Soaring Falcons drop to a 54-43 hole at the end of the third only to go on a 26-11 run in the fourth to take a 69-65 lead with 2:18 left in the game after Manganti’s layup in transition.
That comeback, though, was short-lived as Bright Akhuetie drilled the game-winning layup with 2.6 seconds left as if to serve as UP’s vindication for what Manganti had done to the Fighting Maroons in the past.
Manganti scored the game-winner in Adamson’s 73-71 win in the first round of Season 80 and he had a similar play in the Falcons’ first meeting with the Maroons in Season 81 for the 69-68 triumph.
And as if fate once again intervened, Manganti nailed a clutch three that stopped UP’s 22-7 run and give Adamson an 80-72 win in the second round.
Those moments, however, were in the past and it was the Fighting Maroons’ turn to take action against Manganti’s tendencies to shatter their hearts.
Manganti, who was visibly pissed with the loss, said he was still proud of his team’s counter despite it falling short.
“I’m confident in my team, in my teammates, in my coaches,” said Manganti, who finished with 15 points, 10 in the fourth, and five rebounds. “You know we could’ve gotten that one but [expletive] happens.”
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