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MANILA, Philippines – Spitfire guard Monty Montebon hit the biggest shot of his young career in the clutch as the Adamson Soaring Falcons leaned on his game-winning three to escape the UE Red Warriors, 63-61, at the raucous Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday, November 19.
With Adamson’s Final Four hopes in sudden jeopardy after a late Jack Cruz-Dumont triple with 6.4 seconds left to push UE ahead, 61-60, Montebon steeled his nerves for the final sequence and swished a tough corner bomb, barely evading the out-of-bounds line with 2.7 ticks left for the winning final tally.
Dumont had one more chance to repeat his earlier heroics off the timeout, but his last triple drew front iron as time expired, much to the delight of the deafening Adamson fans in attendance.
With the win, the Falcons rose to a 7-7 record, surviving by the skin of their teeth to force a fourth-seed playoff with the defending champions Ateneo Blue Eagles on Wednesday, November 22, time and venue to be determined.
Montebon finished with a game-high 16 points on 4-of-12 shooting from three to go with 7 rebounds, and 2 assists, matching Ced Manzano’s own 16-point effort plus 10 boards, 4 steals, and 2 dimes.
“I like how it ended, that wasn’t scripted,” said Adamson head coach Nash Racela. “UE really made it tough for us and some would say, really, we got lucky. I won’t deny that, it looked like we really got lucky.”
“I think from the very beginning, that’s what we emphasize to our players that there are no freebies in this world, we have to earn everything.”
Noy Remogat came one assist shy of a triple-double in the crushing loss with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 dimes as UE finished the season in sixth place with a 4-10 slate.
Disqualified Rookie of the Year frontrunner Precious Momowei scattered 15 points, 11 boards, and a game-high 6 blocks in his return, while Dumont added 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals.
Adamson 63 – Montebon 16, Manzano 16, Magbuhos 10, Yerro 8, Hanapi 5, Ojarikre 3, Erolon 3, Barcelona 2, Colonia 0, Ramos 0, Barasi 0, Anabo 0.
UE 61 – Remogat 16, Momowei 15, Cruz-Dumont 13, Galang 5, Lingolingo 3, Tulabut 3, Gilbuena 3, Maglupay 2, Sawat 1, Langit 0, Alcantara 0, Spandonis 0.
Quarters: 16-16, 37-29, 45-47, 63-61.