UAAP: Jerom Lastimosa’s brief return boosts Adamson morale in crucial win
MANILA, Philippines — Jerom Lastimosa only played 32 seconds on his return from a dislocated right foot but he made a huge impact on his team’s morale in their 74-64 victory over University of the East on Sunday in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament at Mall of Asia Arena.
“It’s the Jerom effect,” said Racela after Lastimosa’s inspiring cameo. “Just seeing him suit up in the game, seeing him shoot around, even stretch and warm up with the team, that really helps us.”
Lastimosa, who missed the last two games, returned to action with 30.4 seconds left in the second quarter as the Falcons entered the halftime break with a 42-23 spread.
He was fielded back with 18.5 seconds left and sank two free throws to seal their bounce-back win from a heartbreaking loss to La Salle.
Contrary to what he said last week that he is unlikely to return for the season, Lastimosa bared he is getting better and raring to regain longer playing time to help Adamson reach the Final Four and eventually the finals.
“Pakiramdam ko palagi lalong-lalo na ngayon ay getting better. Makakatulong pa rin ako sa team,” said Lastimosa. “Yun yung palagi kong ine-expect kasi gustung-gusto namin to make it to the Final Four, not only there, but to make it to the finals.”
(I’m feeling better right now because I was able to help my team. That’s what I always expect because we really want to reach the Final Four, not only there, but to make it to the finals.)
Racela is hoping to have a complete roster as they try to build on this win with a 5-6 record in the fourth place.
“We look forward to the next game that Vince Magbuhos will do the same thing. It’s nice that Jerom is available today, AP (Manlapaz) is available today,” said Racela. “In this kind of situation and time, you would really need all the help you could get.”
Adamson has three games remaining, against Far Eastern University on Wednesday, National University on Saturday next week, and Ateneo on November 30, to strengthen its Final Four bid.
“Not really looking at the standings right now. We know we have a good chance if we do our part. That’s our reminder to the players, not really to look at that because sometimes it’s misleading. You thought you’re in a good position and then all of a sudden, one game changes everything, and then you are at the bottom,” Racela said. “Just handle business, that’s our mindset.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.