MANILA, Philippines – The Adamson Soaring Falcons boosted their UAAP Season 85 Final Four hopes with an all-important 74-64 win over the reeling UE Red Warriors at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday, November 20.
Cedrick Manzano led the win with an 11-point, 12-rebound double-double, while Didat Hanapi and Lenda Douanga scored 13 apiece to help lift the Falcons to a 5-6 record, while UE dropped their third straight game for a 4-8 slate.
The unexpected story of the game, however, was the shocking appearance of team star Jerom Lastimosa, who checked in for 32 seconds and scored the team’s last two points off free throws despite initially admitting that he would miss the rest of the elimination round due to a dislocated right foot.
Coming off a back-and-forth first quarter, Adamson pulled away with a 27-7 scoring spree in the second, capped with a Ray Allen Torres triple for the 42-23 lead off a play that involved Lastimosa, who checked in with 30.4 seconds left in the half to a rousing ovation from Falcons fans.
Although Adamson led by as many as 22, 63-41, early in the final frame, UE made a late 21-8 push to get back within single digits, 62-70, off a Gani Stevens layup with 45.2 seconds left.
However, the Red Warriors’ spurt came too little, too late as Lastimosa set the final score with a pair of free throws in the waning seconds of the game to set the final score.
Luis Villegas led all scorers in the tough loss with 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting with 6 assists and 2 rebounds, while Stevens and Kyle Paranada scored 14 apiece.
Adamson continues its crucial home stretch with a match against the FEU Tamaraws on Wednesday, November 23, 6:30 pm, while UE aims for a difficult bounce-back attempt against the Ateneo Blue Eagles at 4:30 pm.
Adamson 74 – Hanapi 13, Douanga 13, Manzano 11, Sabandal 10, Flowers 7, Torres 6, Colonia 4, Yerro 3, Manlapaz 3, Barcelona 2, Lastimosa 2, Jaymalin 0, Barasi 0, Fuentebella 0, W. Magbuhos 0.
UE 64 – Villegas 20, Stevens 14, K. Paranada 14, N. Paranada 8, Payawal 6, Sawat 2, Pagsanjan 0, Tulabut 0, Remogat 0, Antiporda 0, Guevarra 0, Gilbuena 0, Lingo-Lingo 0.
Quarters: 15-16, 42-23, 56-41, 74-64.