Adamson closes in on playoff return after closing out FEU

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 06, 2016 02:35 PM
Adamson closes in on playoff return after closing out FEU
DRINK IT IN.

Defending champion Far Eastern University had the number of upstart Adamson University on Sunday at the San Juan Arena.

Until the entry of Jonathan Espeleta, that is.

The little-known rookie had six points, three rebounds, and once assists in the last six minutes to boost the Soaring Falcons over the Tamaraws, 61-59, a much-needed win in the stretch run of the UAAP 79 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Energized by the entry of Espeleta, Adamson turned a three-point lead into a tally of 58-51 in their favor inside the last four minutes. “If you look at the game, especially the last three minutes, we were in total control, but it still shows a semblance of us being a young team,” coach Franz Pumaren said.

Indeed, Raymar Jose wasn’t going down without a fight and had FEU scratching and clawing their way back to only 59-60 with 30 ticks to go.

Following a defensive stop, the Tamaraws again got the ball back only to see Monbert Arong turn it over on a traveling violation. Defending him was Espeleta who was backstopped by Simon Camacho.

“I guess it’s our defense that really took control of our game. Limiting a veteran team like FEU to only 59 points, that’s already an accomplishment,” Pumaren said. The Falcons allowed their opponents to make good on 40 percent of their shots, but also forced them to commit 27 turnovers.

At the other end, Manganti and Rob Manalang carried the load with 14 and 12 points, respectively. Espeleta also wound up with eight points, five rebounds, and two assists.

Behind their youngsters, Adamson stayed strong at fourth-place with a 6-5 record. “We needed this win. At this stage, we’re looking at making the playoffs and we needed this type of game,” Pumaren expressed.

In only his first year at the helm, Pumaren has the upstarts from San Marcelino one step away from their first Final Four since 2011. They also got some more separation from National University, University of the Philippines, and University of Sto. Tomas who are all chasing them for the fourth and final playoff berth.

On the other hand, the Tamaraws remained at second spot with an 8-3 standing. They saw their seven-game winning streak come to an end, however, despite the best efforts of Jose who had 16 points and nine rebounds.

In pursuit of the defending champions for the other twice-to-beat advantage is 7-4 Ateneo de Manila University.

BOX SCORES

ADAMSON 61 – Manganti 14, Manalang 12, Espeleta 8, Sarr 6, Bernardo 6, Tungcab 5, Ahanmisi 4, Mustre 4, Ochea 2, Camacho 0, Paranada 0, Chua 0, Ng 0

FEU 59 – Jose 16, Tuffin 8, Arong 7, Inigo 6, Orizu 5, Trinidad 5, Dennison 4, Comboy 3, Roxas 3, Escoto 2, Bayquin 0, Ebona 0, Holmqvist 0, Denila 0

QUARTER SCORES: 9-17, 30-32, 46-44, 61-59

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