Falcons get jump on Bulldogs to soar to solo second
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 21, 2016 07:06 PM
UPSTARTS. Adamson registered their biggest win of the season thus far after ambushing NU.
As a follow up to Dawn Ochea’s “magical shot,” coach Franz Pumaren pulled another trick off his proverbial hat to again lead Adamson University to victory in the UAAP 79 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Seldom-used Kristian Bernardo filled the void left behind by a foul-plagued Papi Sarr and then got the better of Alfred Aroga to propel the Soaring Falcons past suddenly struggling National University, 64-51, on Wednesday at the MOA Arena.
Bernardo, a second-year center, had seven points and three rebounds in only eight minutes of action, but all those came in the endgame with his Cameroonian teammate sitting on the bench and his Cameroonian opponent trying to rally the Bulldogs. “He was the game-changer there. He made big baskets down the stretch,” a proud Pumaren said of him.
He then continued, “Based on how he has been practicing, I knew he was ready.” Indeed, it was the Bulacan native who fired all of his seven points in the 9-4 run that turned a one-point deficit into a 53-49 Adamson advantage.
Aroga then scored inside to claw NU to 51-53 with 2:17 to go before the Falcons uncorked 11 unanswered points to seal the deal on their first back-to-back wins in the tournament. At 3-1, they move into solo second right behind undefeated league-leader De La Salle University whom they battle on Saturday.
Although in foul trouble, Sarr still posted a 13-point, 17-rebound double-double to show the way for Adamson. Their reserves showed up as well with Jaydee Tungcab the only other player in double-digits with 11 points off the bench.
“People scouted us as a (Jerrick) Ahanmisi and Papi Sarr team, but our bench contributed well,” Pumaren expressed.
The Falcons also turned it up to the maximum at the defensive end and limited their opponents to 30 percent shooting. “We really showed our defense and held them to a low-scoring game,” Pumaren said of his defense who gave up no makes to both NU starters J-Jay Alejandro and Rev Diputado.
With their starting backcourt going scoreless, the Bulldogs leaned on Aroga to do the heavy lifting. He wound up with 17 points and 13 rebounds which proved far from enough in preventing their second straight setback and fall to 2-2.
ADAMSON 64 – Sarr 13, Tungcab 11, Manganti 9, Ahanmisi 8, Bernardo 7, Mustre 5, Espeleta 4, Ochea 3, Manalang 2, Camacho 2, Pasturan 0, Ng 0, Paranada 0, Chua 0
NU 51 – Aroga 17, Salem 9, Salim 7, Mosqueda 4, Morido 4, Diputado C 3, Pate 3, Gallego 2, Sinclair 2, Alejandro 0, Diputado R 0, Abatayo 0, Aquino 0, Rangel 0, Yu 0
QUARTER SCORES: 17-13, 29-28, 42-40, 64-51
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.