ADAMSON University flaunted resilience anew and stayed in contention for the last Final Four slot as the rampaging De La Salle University (DLSU) beefed up its bid for the twice-to-beat incentives nearing the climax of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) 86 men’s basketball tournament.
With a game to go for all squads, the Soaring Falcons braved on and pulled off a 68-62 stunner of the second-running National University (NU) as the Green Archers remained unbeaten in the second round after fending off Far Eastern University (FEU), 80-70, late Wednesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Adamson’s win kept its Final Four hopes flickering at 6-7 just behind reigning champion Ateneo currently clinging at fourth spot with a 7-6 slated heading into their last assignments that would make or break their chances.
De La Salle, for its part, with seven straight wins caught NU for the second place with similar 10-3 cards as University of the Philippines (UP) holds an inside track at 11-2 for a Top-Two finish and the twice-to-beat incentives in the semis.
Didat Hanapi showed the way with 13 points and six rebounds while Matthew Montebon and Ced Manzano chipped in 12 points apiece for the wards of coach Nash Racela. “Last time, I talked about how proud I am with the players and with our team because despite the odds and the challenges that’s in front of us the whole year actually, they are still alive,” said Mr. Racela. “So, meaning, we are competing as a team and the players deserve credit.”
Adamson has the University of the East (UE), who bowed out of the race at 4-9 after a costly 80-74 loss to Ateneo de Manila University without its suspended ace rookie Precious Momowei, as its last assignment.
A win by Adamson against UE on Sunday and a loss by Ateneo against the red-hot De La Salle on Saturday would lock both teams at 7-7 and pave the way for a playoff for the last semis ticket.
The same is possible for the Top Two and the win-once bonuses as UP and NU will still clash on Sunday with De La Salle needing to take care of business versus Ateneo first to force a three-way tie at 11-3.
De La Salle, due to a perfect campaign in the second round with convincing wins after one another, would seal the No. 1 spot in that scenario in a stunning rise as UP and NU would have to duke it out in a knockout match for the No. 2 seed.
And the Green Archers made sure to stay in that race behind the solid outing of Raven Cortez off the bench with 16 points in 17 minutes.
Mark Nonoy (15) and Kevin Quiambao (13) cashed in help as for De La Salle, which dominated UP and NU in the second round after close losses in their first meeting to hold a superior quotient in case of a three-way tie.
“We know that it’s gonna be a hard road from here on and we just wanna make sure that we will always be ready,” said De La Salle mentor Topex Robinson.
In the other game, Chicco Briones provided a spark off the bench with 14 points as leader UP drubbed also-ran University of Santo Tomas or UST (1-12), 86-61, to earn a playoff for the two twice-to-beat advantages. — John Bryan Ulanday
The Scores: Second Game
UP 86 – Briones 14, Gonzales 10, Cansino 9, Belmonte 9, Lopez 8, Alter 7, Diouf 6, Felicilda 6, Fortea 6, Alarcon 4, Torres 4, Abadiano 2, Torculas 1, Cagulangan 0, Pablo 0.
UST 61 – Cabañero 14, Manaytay 14, Pangilinan 13, Duremdes 5, Laure 5, Calum 4, Llemit 3, Manalang 2, Moore 1, Crisostomo 0, Lazarte 0, Magdangal 0, Esmena 0.
Quarterscores: 24-18, 44-32, 69-47, 86-61.
The Scores: Third Game
DLSU 80 – Cortez 16, Nonoy 15, Quiambao 13, Nelle 7, Escandor 7, Austria 5, Abadam 4, Nwankwo 4, Policarpio 3, Gollena 3, Manuel 3, B. Phillips 0, Macalalag 0.
FEU 70 – Bautista 17, Sleat 11, Gonzales 10, Ona 10, Competente 7, Bagunu 6, Tempra 4, Torres 2, Montemayor 2, Buenaventura 1, Faty 0.
Quarterscores: 21-18, 41-40, 62-61, 80-70.
The Scores: Fourth Game
Adamson 68 – Hanapi 13, Montebon 12, Manzano 12, Ramos 7, Ojarikre 7, Yerro 6, Erolon 4, Calisay 3, Magbuhos 2, Barasi 2, Colonia 0, Barcelona 0, Anabo 0, Cañete 0.
NU 62 – Baclaan 24, Figueroa 13, Lim 6, Palacielo 5, John 5, Yu 4, Malonzo 2, Manansala 2, Jumamoy 1, Padrones 0.
Quarterscores: 25-17, 40-33, 50-42, 68-62.