MANILA, Philippines – Four games into UAAP Season 81, the game of the year may have already happened.
In a stunning outcome, the title-hunting Adamson Soaring Falcons dropped heavy title-repeat favorites Ateneo Blue Eagles in their very first game of the season, 74-70.
It took everything for the Falcons to beat the Eagles, including technical fouls, gritty post play and a buzzer-beating half-court shot by Jerrick Ahanmisi at halftime.
But despite the craziness of it all in one look, Adamson’s maiden win was apparently a product of exceedingly long preparation.
“Preparado talaga kami sa Ateneo nang mahigit tatlong buwan para matalo namin sila,” revealed rookie point guard Jerom Lastimosa in the post-game presser. “Kasi sila yung defending champion. Pero kinaya namin kahit malakas sila.”
(We prepared for Ateneo for more than three months just so we can beat them, because they are the defending champions. But we prevailed over them even though they are strong.)
“We’ve been working hard for this game,” added veteran center Papi Sarr. “We got a lot of adjustments. We got a lot of preparation. The coaches did a great job for this game. Actually, I’m not surprised because the way that we’ve been working hard for this game tells the result today. So I gotta give credit to the coaching staff. They’ve been doing a great job for this game today.”
Indeed, the amount of preparation teams made and are making for Ateneo have ramped up ever since they turned heads and dropped veteran national teams in the William Jones Cup following their UAAP title win.
“We started scouting them months and months ago,” echoed reigning three-point shootout champion Jerrick Ahanmisi, who led the upset bid with 23 points on a 4-of-10 (40%) clip from downtown. “Whoever was on the court, they played a hundred percent and I’m glad we came out with the win.”
It goes without saying that Ateneo head honcho Tab Baldwin knows about this increased target on their backs as well, and he made sure his boys knew it moving forward.
“I told our guys, I said, ‘We talked about this. We are everybody’s championship game,’” he told reporters post-game. “Now we know what that actually means. Now we know what that feels like. Now we have to live up to our word that is every one of these games is the only game that matters.”
So yes, Adamson’s win wasn’t a fluke. “Practice makes perfect” is no cliché. – Rappler.com