UAAP: Adamson braces for Ateneo playoff after great escape
MANILA, Philippines — The Adamson Soaring Falcons were relieved to fight another day in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament after Monty Montebon’s game-winning trey saved them from elimination on Sunday.
After La Salle kept a window open for Adamson by beating Ateneo in their rivalry game, the Falcons almost squandered the chance after Jack Cruz-Dumont’s go-ahead three-pointer for University of the East.
But Montebon answered with his own clutch triple as the Falcons forged a playoff for the last Final Four berth against the Blue Eagles on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
“That’s the objective, going into today’s ball game, to get another chance. Extend our lives,” said Adamson coach Nash Racela after their 63-61 win over UE on Sunday.
“Two things need to happen for us to get a knockout game. La Salle took care of the first but we had to take care of the second. Today, we almost did not do that. But, yeah, we’re here and that’s all we want. Get a crack at that Final Four. Because Adamson also deserves to be there right?” he added.
After the Blue Eagles failed to secure an outright Final Four ticket on Saturday, Racela said he didn’t let his wards think way too ahead and urged them to keep their focus on their crucial match against the Red Warriors.
“We just think about UE because imagine if we lost that, if he missed the shot, then we wouldn’t even be talking about Ateneo. All our focus was on UE and how to beat them. Now that we did, we can move forward to Ateneo. We’ll start thinking about it,” said Racela. “We play Wednesday against Ateneo and coach Tab was obviously cheering for UE today, they almost won. Yesterday, I was cheering for La Salle. That’s what makes it really fun. Yung mga side stories na ganon but both of us, we don’t really have a choice but to play that Wednesday game.”
“It will be nice, it will be tough, especially after all that happened. But at the end of the day, it’s all about preparation. We’ll just have to study again, and prepare for Ateneo’s Wednesday again,” he added.
The Falcons will be playing a playoff for No. 4 for the second straight season. They were victorious last time, beating La Salle in Season 85 behind Jerom Lastimosa’s heroics.
This time, Lastimosa will be cheering for his teammates from the sidelines due to his ACL injury as Racela banks on the experience of Cedrick Manzano, Vince Magbuhos, Wawa Yerro, and Didat Hanapi in leading the Falcons.
“As a coach, I hope [our experience last season]. But, last year, compared to this year, it’s two different teams. Different guys playing but I’m sure of those guys, like sila Cedrick had experience, sila Didat, sila Vince, not everyone,” said Racela.
“Sila Monty, our new guys, they weren’t part of last year’s, sila Matty [Erolon], sila Eli [Ramos], so a lot of new guys also. But, I think the biggest experience for our players are the games in the second round. When you look at us, that’s when we grew, ngayong second round.”