MANILA, Philippines – For the second straight game, the Adamson Soaring Falcons blew their chances in a heartbreaking overtime loss.
Fresh off an 85-88 defeat at the hands of the FEU Tamaraws, the Falcons got clipped yet again in OT, this time by a single point, 78-79, against longtime tormentor De La Salle Green Archers.
After starting the UAAP Season 81 with 5 straight wins, the Falcons now find themselves tied for the top spot with Ateneo and FEU at 5-2 at the end of the first round.
As such, the usually outspoken Adamson head coach Franz Pumaren left quietly and quickly after the game, saying nothing more than the fact that they need to pick up the pieces heading to the second round.
Instead, team leaders Jerrick Ahanmisi and Sean Manganti faced the media, although they obviously weren’t in the highest of spirits either.
Ahanmisi, who finished the game with 27 points, just stared at the Mall of Asia Arena scoreboard still flashing the results of their all-out war.
“This was a tough, tough game to lose for us,” he said. “I think that there is a lot of stuff that we did in the game that were wrong and we should have won, obviously, but I don’t know. It’s just the little mistakes that, towards the end, we shouldn’t have made.”
Prior to the two desperation threes made by the star pair to close out the one-point loss, Adamson shot 2-of-10 (20%) and let La Salle sink 9-of-12 (75%) free-throws.
Manganti, who followed Ahanmisi with 23 points, knew it all too well.
“We just gotta play better in crunch time,” he said. “We really shot ourselves in the foot. We lost that game.”
“La Salle did not beat us. We beat ourselves,” he continued.
Still, the fact remains that La Salle has defeated Adamson 7 straight times in the era of Franz Pumaren, who interestingly, was also the man who brought 4 straight titles to La Salle starting in 1998.
Most recently, the Archers have booted the Falcons out of the Final Four for two straight seasons.
In the wake of this most recent setback, Ahanmisi, Manganti and surely the rest of the Falcons have only grown hungrier for a win against the green and white.
“I don’t really have much to say. I just want to beat them the next time we play them next round,” said Ahanmisi. “We’re just gonna prepare for them and we’re gonna do everything we can to beat them next round.”
“The only positive thing that came out is that it’s only the first round,” quipped Manganti. “I wanna beat them so bad. They’re number one on my list. I think they know that.”
“This one hurts but we’re just gonna take it like any other game,” he continued. “We’re gonna go one game at a time. We’re not going to change our mentality. We still think we belong here.”
This long-standing rivalry has long tipped past the boiling point, but somehow, it’s still getting hotter after every game. – Rappler.com
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