In the second round of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Men’s Basketball Tournament, the second meeting between the Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles and the Adamson University (ADU) Soaring Falcons seemed like a Finals preview.
The two teams have consistently held on to the top two spots in the standings. The match-up earlier today was a game that collegiate basketball fans waited to see after ADU beat ADMU at the UAAP weekend opener last September. The defending champions wanted some payback from a solid contender of a team that has had an incredible run this season.
Eagles and Falcons: Flying at the same altitude
Both teams have young, intense, and fearless players in their line-ups. ADMU still has last season’s core joined by center Angelo Kouame. ADU has Cameroonian center Papi Sarr. In such a battle of the big men, the Blue Eagles seem to have the edge but let’s not forget the smarts of Falcons’ Sarr: He exhibited some of it last Sunday when he used his bulk to nudge Thirdy Ravena at the sideline forcing the latter to make an errant pass. Sarr is joined by slashers Sean Manganti and Jerome Lastimosa, and shooter Jerrick Ahanmisi; this makes the two teams evenly matched in terms of firepower.
What happened last Sunday
We saw the stifling defense of both teams disrupting plays and resulting in low scoring. Halfway through the second quarter, the score was still 10-11. In such a game, a sparkplug off the bench would have to deliver. And that’s what Isaac Go did, hitting a three with about two minutes left in the first half to give ADMU a 7-point lead.
In the end, Ateneo led by as much as 20 points, before prevailing 62-48. The win was important because if Ateneo ends up tied with Adamson in the standings at the end of the second round, the Blue Eagles get the number one seed by virtue of a superior quotient.
Why we expect the two teams to meet again in the Finals
Adamson came back from a 20-point deficit to make a game of it, cutting the lead twice to 12. Sarr just got winded, Ahanmisi could not get his rhythm going until late in the game, and Manganti missed several shots. After the game, there is a prevailing feeling of unfinished business for the Falcons.
We can almost expect them to battle it out against the Eagles for the crown.
All photos by John Alvin Tan, The Adamson Chronicle.
— Unsportsmanlike Fouls and ‘Dirty’ Tactics in Basketball
— Breaking Down the Current Leaders for UAAP 81 Men’s Basketball MVP
— Meet 10-Year-Old Filipino Basketball Star in the Making
— Prince and Ricci Rivero: Why We Follow This Basketball Brotherhood
— Ball and Brawl: A Look Back at Some of the NBA’s Worst Tussles