The Adamson Soaring Falcons survived a furious rally from the UP Fighting Maroons on the way to a thrilling 80-72 victory that extended their streak to three games in UAAP Season 81 Sunday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
The Falcons needed a Sean Manganti buzzer-beater to overcome UP in the first round. This time, they exploded for 33 points in the third quarter to establish a huge enough cushion that allowed them to come away with the win.
Jerrick Ahanmisi sizzled for 24 points including 16 in the pivotal third period, to go with six rebounds and three assists. Jerom Lastimosa, meanwhile, finished with a career-high 14 points, four assists, and three steals.
The Fighting Maroons rose back from a 26-point deficit by opening the final frame with a 17-2 charge led by dominant big man Bright Akhuetie. Juan Gomez De Liaño also hit timely baskets that pushed his team within four, 70-74, in the closing minute.
Manganti, however, once again crushed the hearts of the Diliman faithful by hitting a dagger triple that ended UP's comeback hopes. Papi Sarr then punctuated the victory with a slam dunk made possible by a crucial offensive board by Simon Camacho.
"Down the stretch, we have to rely on key players, we have to rely on veterans," said ADU coach Franz Pumaren post-match. "I guess it shows here that what's important is the leadership qualities of our veterans. In spite of the run that UP made, we were able to weather it. We didn't panic, we stayed within the course."
Akhuetie scored 11 points in the final canto en route to a 24-point, 15-rebound outing for the Fighting Maroons. Gomez De Liaño added 15 markers, six boards, and five dimes.
ADAMSON 80 -- Ahanmisi 24, Lastimosa 14, Sarr 12, Manganti 10, Catapusan 5, V. Magbuhos 4, Pingoy 3, Camacho 3, Mojica 3, Bernardo 2, Zaldivar 0.
UP 72 -- Akhuetie 24, Ju. Gomez de Liano 15, Desiderio 13, Manzo 8, Ja. Gomez de Liano 5, Vito 5, Jaboneta 2, Lim 0, Dario 0, Prado 0, Gozum 0.
Quarters: 12-12, 34-26, 67-48, 80-72.
-- With an 8-2 slate, the Falcons are now guaranteed at least a playoff for a Final Four slot. The Fighting Maroons (5-6), on the other hand, fell out of the top four as UST moved up to solo fourth place with a 5-5 card.
-- UP's Paul Desiderio, who finished with a career-high 31 points last game, was limited to 4-for-11 shooting from the field for 13 points.
Adamson - November 3 (Sat) vs UST Growling Tigers at Ynares Center Antipolo
UP - November 3 (Sat) vs La Salle Green Archers at Ynares Center Antipolo