Adamson comfortably upended UST to book UAAP Season 81’s second Final Four ticket, but the win didn’t come with an early hitch.
Tipped against a Growling Tigers squad that looked to keep its hopes of entering the semifinals alive, the Falcons saw themselves locked in an early slugfest and faced a 39-40 deficit entering halftime.
That was a situation that the team probably didn’t want to put themselves into since UST had a clean 5-0 record when leading at the break prior to today.
“Probably the players were so gigil in trying to get a big win right away, to dispose UST right away. So, the tendency was we were kinda tight in the first half. But when we settled down, we went to our regular rotations with regards to defending them. I think that was key there,” head coach Franz Pumaren acknowledged.
Thankfully, Adamson found their bearings in the second half.
12 unanswered points to kick off the third period seemed to do the job as the San Marcelino-based squad banked on Jerrick Ahanmisi and Jerom Lastimosa’s hot shooting to gain separation from their foes.
“The team just needed energy. Coming out of the first half, we didn’t play so well. The coach told us that we had to had some enthusiasm, some energy. I just tried to bring that in,” Jerrick Ahamisi, who scored eight of his 13 points in that crucial quarter, said after the game.
The results were pretty satisfactory in the end. Their 96-point output was the second-best scoring game they had under Pumaren’s tenure, and this was Adamson’s third straight year to qualify for the Final Four.
But they’re far from done.
“We’re happy reaching the Final Four. I don’t want to sound so hypocrite. Of course, reaching the Final Four is an achievement. But we’ve been doing that for the last two years. Hopefully, we can improve our finish for this year,” the 54-year-old mentor said.
“It’s obviously something that we wanted to do this year, but that’s not the team’s goal this year. We’re just gonna keep moving on and we’re gonna keep moving forward to the next games,” said Ahanmisi said.
And with UE and FEU next in their sights and with the second twice-to-beat incentive still up for grabs, their work is far from over.
“We won’t be complacent, that’s what important. Because as you mentioned, we’re almost there to get that particular incentive and we’re aiming for that. I’ll be a hypocrite if I tell you that we’re happy already with entering the Final Four. We want to get that particular incentive,” Pumaren said.