MANILA, Philippines – For the second straight matchup in the UAAP Season 82, the UP Fighting Maroons engineered a double-digit comeback over the Adamson Soaring Falcons with a stunning 81-77 win on Sunday, October 20.
It was a straight-up deja vu moment for the reeling Falcons, who squandered a 12-point lead in the 4th quarter. In their initial encounter, the Maroons fought from 18 down in the 3rd quarter to eke out an 83-82 win in overtime.
For his role in the repeat meltdown, one-and-done guard Val Chauca shouldered the burden on his own.
"Just turned the ball over a lot. As a veteran, coach Franz [Pumaren] expects a lot more sign of leadership. It's on me, I take full responsibility," he said after the game.
After a blazing 17-point first half, the Filipino-Peruvian sensation fizzled out in the latter two periods with only 2 more markers credited to his name until the end.
Chauca was well aware of his terrible outing, as he was visibly upset after the final buzzer signaled UP's fourth straight win over them dating back to last season's Final Four.
"I pretty much worked my whole life to get to this point at this stage, and that was a heartbreaker. That one hurt a lot," he said.
"I'm a veteran on the team and I can't make mistakes like that. I had the ball in my hand and made errant passes. Just be more deliberate with my decisions."
Despite the tough loss, the Falcons are still not out of the running. But they need to win their last 3 games to even have a shot at returning to the playoffs.
That stretch is easier said than done as Adamson must now sweep FEU, UST, and La Salle in that order to save its Final Four bid. However, Chauca views this as his shot at quick redemption for himself.
"We need 3 in a row. I think it we win 3 in a row, it'll put us in a good position," he said. "At this point, we're just looking forward to FEU on Wednesday and that'll be big for us. All eyes on FEU." – Rappler.com