MANILA, Philippines – The undefeated Adamson Falcons maintained their grip of the solo lead with a 79-71 triumph over the tenacious UST Growling Tigers in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament on Saturday, September 22 at the Araneta Coliseum.
Jerrick Ahanmisi pumped in 20 points to power the Falcons, who stretched their perfect run to three games.
Two-way rookie Vince Magbuhos poured in a career-high 15 markers with 4 steals and a block.
The Falcons pulled away late as reserve big Kristian Bernardo scored 5 straight to stretch the lead to 8, 68-60, with 6:46 left.
Rookie guard Jerom Lastimosa drained the tough dagger jumper, 76-69, as the shot clock expired with 49 ticks left in the game.
“One thing I can say is my bench players proved they are capable of stepping up,” said Adamson head coach Franz Pumaren in the post-game presser.
“Papi [Sarr’s] not 100%. He just played through his sickness. Same with Sean [Manganti], his foot is bothering him. But in spite of them having a bad [day] because of various illnesses and injuries, I think this is one game that we were able to prove ourselves that we just play as a team.”
“We hold down the opponent, I think we can survive any game,” he continued.
Adamson indeed pulled through despite Manganti bottoming out at 0 points on a 0-of-7 shooting after firing a career-high 27 points in their previous win against UE.
Sarr meanwhile, only had 4 points and 7 boards in 20 minutes.
UST cut Adamson’s cushion in the 3rd to just a point, 40-41, courtesy of back-to-back heat check triples by veteran Marvin Lee in a 9-3 run.
Not to be outdone, rookies CJ Cansino and Ken Zamora scored 7 straight to seize the lead for UST, 48-45, their first since 3-0 in the opening minute.
The Falcons, however, regained a small two-possession edge after a putback by Bernardo at the end of the period, 58-54.
Adamson flexed its feared press defense for much of the first half, frustrating the upstart Tigers en route to a 38-31 lead at intermission.
Magbuhos was the primary beneficiary and tallied 10 points and 4 steals in the first two quarters alone. By then, UST only had 3 swipes in comparison.
UST young gun Cansino churned out 18 points and 6 boards in the loss. Lee chipped in 14 markers with 4 boards.
Adamson 79 – Ahanmisi 20, Magbuhos 15, Espeleta 12, Camacho 9, Bernardo 7, Lastimosa 6, Sarr 4, Pingoy 4, Catapusan 2, Manganti 0, Colonia 0, Mojica 0.
UST 71 – Cansino 18, Lee 16, Subido 8, Akomo 8, Cosejo 6, Marcos 4, Huang 4, Zamora 3, Lagumen 2, Mahinay 2, Caunan 0.
Quarters: 20-18, 38-31, 58-54, 79-71.
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