MANILA, Philippines – The Adamson Soaring Falcons advanced to the Final Four for the third straight season after disposing of the UST Growling Tigers, 96-83, in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, November 7.
Sean Manganti drained a game-high 22 points on top of 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals for the Falcons, who banked on a huge third-quarter run to pull away from the Tigers.
Simon Camacho and Jerrick Ahanmisi chipped in 15 and 13 markers, respectively.
The Falcons, who also downed the Tigers in the first round, 79-71, solidified their hold of the second spot at 9-3 to stay on track of their bid for the coveted twice-to-beat advantage.
“Of course reaching the Final Four is an achievement. But we’ve been doing that for the last two years. Hopefully we can improve our finish for this year,” said Adamson coach Franz Pumaren.
After a back-and-forth contest in the first half that saw UST lead 40-39, the Falcons soared to a huge 15-0 run, 54-40, ending with a steal and a bucket by Jerom Lastimosa.
With 1:10 left before the end of the 3rd frame, Ahanmisi broke out of his slump and buried back-to-back threes for the 16-point lead, 68-52.
UST refused to roll over and die, however, as they gunned an 11-2 run punctuated by a wide-open CJ Cansino triple at the 5:22 mark.
However, the star rookie suffered an apparent left ankle injury after a block attempt on the other end and was immediately helped off the court.
Adamson took care of business and ended on a floater by Manganti, 89-78, with less than two minutes left.
UST guard Renzo Subido bounced back from a scoreless outing with a team-high 21 points, albeit in another loss.
Cansino bit back his injury and finished the game with 17 markers and 12 boards.
The Tigers fell to sixth place at 5-7 and now stand in danger of elimination.
Adamson 96 – Manganti 22, Camacho 15, Ahanmisi 13, Sarr 11, Lastimosa 10, Pingoy 9, Mojica 8, Mabuhos 4, Catapusan 2, Bernardo 2, Zaldivar 0, Espeleta 0.
UST 83 – Subido 21, Lee 18, Cansino 17, Huang 8, Mahinay 8, Zamora 7, Bataller 2, Caunan 2, Marcos 0.
Quarters: 21-20, 39-40, 70-58, 96-83.