DARKHORSE NO MORE: Adamson confident as legitimate contender

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 01, 2017 08:50 PM
DARKHORSE NO MORE: Adamson confident as legitimate contender
THINK BIGGER. Sean Manganti and Adamson want nothing more than to improve on their Final Four finish a season ago.

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 8-7, defeated in Final Four by DLSU

YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Jerrick Ahanmisi, Rob Manalang, Sean Manganti, Papi Sarr

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: Tyrus Hill, Koko Pingoy

GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Harold Ng, Jaydee Tungcab

With a new coach, a new core, and a new system, Adamson University barged back into the Final Four after a five-year wait a season ago.

And that accomplishment, until now, gives the Soaring Falcons so much pride. “We had a lot of rookies last year and to be able to do what we did, it just gives us more confidence,” new team captain Rob Manalang shared just weeks before the opening of the new season of the UAAP.

He then continued, “I think that experience will help us get over the hump this year.”

Indeed, the very same group that made the Final Four and took eventual champion De La Salle University to the limit will be back once again, more determined than ever.

That determination, coupled with the much-needed experience they garnered, makes Adamson one of the top teams in the tournament – if they are to be believed. As Manalang put it, “When people think Adamson, they automatically think darkhorse, but personally, I think we’re one of the favorites. We’re looking really great.”

Without a doubt, the San Marcelino-based squad is thinking big this time around – even bigger than the playoff return they celebrated a year ago. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to get to the Finals. We got to the Final Four, we got a good taste of winning last year,” Manalang shared.

He then continued, “So we’re gonna build off that momentum and hopefully, get to the Finals this year.”

Jerrick Ahanmisi echoed the words of his captain. “To get to the Final Four, that’s our first goal. Then after we get to the Final Four, hopefully, get to the Finals and get the championship.”

To get there, the Soaring Falcons are well aware that they will have to take the road that still goes through the defending champion Green Archers. They are also confident about that rematch, however, as the second-year guard said, “The team’s been working hard the whole offseason so I think we’re pretty prepared for anybody.”

More than that, however, the core of Manalang, Ahanmisi, Sean Manganti, and Papi Sarr will now be bolstered by big-time additions in Filipino-American Tyrus Hill and one-time high school phenom Koko Pingoy. “Our new additions could push us over that line we didn’t get across last year,” Ahanmisi said.

Manalang could only agree. “They’re doing very well. They were on Team B since last year so they know the system. The whole team’s looking really good right now,” he said.

While Adamson is more talented and more experienced than it was last season, it still needs a leader.

Luckily for them, their pointman is only up for the task. “Leadership comes kinda naturally for me. Last year, even though I was a rookie, I had lots of responsibility,” he said.

Manalang furthered, “This year, we have more weapons so I don’t necessarily have to be a scorer and can just be more of a facilitator. Now, I can focus on being more of a leader.”

Adamson goes all out to prove its legitimate contention on September 9 when they take on Ateneo in the season-opener. All of the action will be on S+A, S+A HD, and livestream.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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