MANILA, Philippines – The status of Adamson’s two best players, Jerrick Ahanmisi and team captain Sean Manganti, as well rookie standout Jed Colonia, are all up in the air as the 3 players are considered “day-to-day” two days before Adamson’s critical UAAP game against the Far Eastern University Tamaraws.
“I have to be candid, Jerrick is sick (since Thursday). Sean just got hurt a while ago. Jed Colonia got stitches a while ago in practice,” Adamson head coach Franz Pumaren told Rappler on Friday, November 16.
The multi-titled champion coach did not go into the specifics of each player’s ailments, but revealed that if the team doctors give the go signal on any of his boys, they will see action against FEU.
If they do play, Pumaren is still uncertain if the boys will have a minute restriction.
“It all depends on the flow of the game, but of course we cannot really push them.”
The good news for the Soaring Falcons is that Sunday’s contest versus the Tamaraws is no-bearing for them. With a 10-3 record in the team standings, Adamson is already locked into the No. 2 seed and assured of a twice-to-beat advantage against their Final Four opponent, University of the Philippines .
The stakes are much higher for coach Olsen Racela and his Tams. An FEU win would give them an 8-6 record and put them in a three-way tie with the Fighting Maroons and DLSU Green Archers.
Due to superior quotient over La Salle and FEU, however, UP already secured the No. 3 seed.
If the Tamaraws, currently 7-6, defeat Adamson on Sunday, the 4th and final seed would then have to be determined by a playoff between DLSU and FEU, which split their elimination round series.
The winner would go on to a semifinal clash with twice-to-beat Ateneo, the No. 1 seed with a 12-2 record.
Ahanmisi and Manganti are the Falcons’ leading scorers in Season 81 and were responsible for 41 of Adamson’s 85 points in their first-round OT loss against the Tamaraws last October 7, which was Pumaren and his team’s first defeat of the season.
For the Green Archers, who looked very close to securing a Final Four spot just a week ago but have since lost two crucial games, a win by their former head coach and his new team would help them immensely. Pumaren coached DLSU from 1997-2009, winning 6 championships in the process.
“For me, they’re in this position, it’s not because of us, they’re in this position because of their team standing,” he said when asked about having the fate of La Salle, to some degree, in Adamson’s hands.
“All my years as a coach, I don’t rely on other teams. I make it a point to write our own destiny.”
Pumaren also said that against the Tamaraws, the Soaring Falcons will “be experimenting plays that we’ll be doing in the Final Four.”
As for how prepared his team is, the coach said: “Physically, I think we’re right within our projection. We just have to be consistent.” – Rappler.com