Sarr lifts Adamson to get back on track

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With Cameroon import Pape Sarr asserting his dominance in the stretch, Adamson got back at University of the East on Saturday night, 79-71, and put its title bid in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tourney back on track at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The Soaring Falcons took control of what was shaping up to be a tight match in the third canto but still needed a timely lift from the 6-foot-6 Sarr to hold off the Red Warriors’ ferocious fightback.

Sarr muscled his way to another double-double performance of 25 points and 15 rebounds while coming through with back-to-back buckets that restored order on Adamson after UE pulled the closest within 70-66 with under five minutes to play.

The victory kept the Soaring Falcons at fourth spot with an even 5-5 mark while helping first-year coach Franz Pumaren to avenge a 57-64 setback to older brother Derrick and the Red Warriors in their first-round meeting last Oct. 2.

“If you look back at our schedule the past couple of games, kami ang pinakamahirap ang schedule. Being a young team, we struggled a bit. At least, this win we can use it as a springboard,” said Pumaren, pleased with how his wards flashed the sharp form he’s been expecting from them.

Rookie Jerrick Ahanmisi broke out of his shooting slump by knocking down 17 points, spiked by four triples, while fellow freshmen Rob Manalang, Sean Manganti and veteran Terrence Mustre added at least seven markers for Adamson.

“We just had to push them a bit. Get some contributions coming from the bench. During the second quarter, they made a run, we weren’t able to get stops. It’s good for us playing in this type of game. That’s the prize of having a young team, we just have to fast-track any team,” added Pumaren.

Alvin Pasaol had a team-high 16 points and teamed up with veteran Paul Varilla and Philip Manalang in UE’s fightback that still came up short, leading to its eighth loss in 10 matches that moved them on the brink of an early exit.

The Red Warriors also didn’t get any help from star guard Bonbon Batiller and Edgar Charcos, who were both benched by Derrick Pumaren. – By Jerome Lagunzad

The scores:

ADAMSON 79 – Sarr 25, Ahanmisi 17, Manalang 9, Manganti 8, Mustre 7, Espeleta 4, Camacho 4, Paranada 3, Bernardo 2, Ochea 0, Ng 0, Pasturan 0, Chua 0
UE 71 – Pasaol 16, Varilla 13, Abanto 10, Penuela 8, Manalang 4, Palma 4, Bartolome 4, Olayon 4, Armenion 4, De Leon 2, Gagate 2
Quarterscores: 24-20, 40-40, 69-58, 79-71.