For the third straight season, the Adamson Falcons are making their way to the Final Four.
The Falcons formalized their entry into the postseason after a convincing 96-83 victory over the UST Growling Tigers, in UAAP Season 81 action on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
"Well, of course, we are happy reaching the Final Four but we've been doing that for the last two years," said Franz Pumaren, who is in his third season with Adamson. "Hopefully, we can improve our finish for this year."
Sean Manganti logged the most minutes for the Falcons and he did not disappoint with his 22-point, 7-rebound production. Simon Camacho contributed 15 points while Jerrick Ahanmisi chipped in with 13 points.
The Tigers were ahead by one, 40-39, at halftime. The Falcons woke up in the second half and unleashed a 15-0 run to start the period. They outscored the Tigers, 31-18, in the third, tilting the momentum in their favor.
"If you look at the game, we were playing tight in the first half," pointed out Pumaren. "But when we settled down with our regular rotation, we were able to dispose of a very good team."
Renzo Subido led the Tigers with 21 points, including five 3-pointers. Marvin Lee was right behind his backcourt buddy with 18 points but only shot 4-for-21 from the field. Rookie CJ Cansino had another all-around game of 17 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists but had to be momentarily subbed out in the last four minutes after suffering a left ankle sprain. He was able to come back but the Falcons already had the game in hand.
The Tigers were limited to just 31 percent shooting and were severely outrebounded by the Falcons, 35-53. They are now 5-7 in the standings and have put themselves in a dire position to earn a postseason spot.
The 9-3 Falcons meanwhile are hungry for more than just a Final Four appearance.
"It feels good but we've been doing it twice," Manganti said. "There's a higher goal in place."
"It's something that we obviously wanted this year but that's just not our goal. We're going to look forward to the next games," echoed Ahanmisi.
ADAMSON 96 - Manganti 22, Camacho 15, Ahanmisi 13, Sarr 11, Lastimosa 10, Pingoy 9, Mojica 8, Mabuhos 4, Catapusan 2, Bernardo 2, Zaldivar 0, Espeleta 0
UST 83 - Subido 21, Lee 18, Cansino 17, Huang 8, Mahinay 8, Zamora 7, Bataller 2, Caunan 2, Marcos 0
QUARTER SCORES: 21-20, 39-40, 70-58, 96-83
The Falcons were coming off their lowest scoring output of the season. They only scored 48 points in a loss to Ateneo last Sunday but doubled their production versus the Tigers.
UST was 5-0 this season when leading at halftime. That streaking came to a screeching halt after its loss to Adamson.
ADU - Nov. 10 (Sat) vs UE Red Warriors at Araneta Coliseum
UST - Nov. 10 (Sat) vs UP Fighting Maroons at Araneta Coliseum