ADAMSON head coach Franz Pumaren called their start as the worst he’s experienced as a collegiate coach after suffering an 85-73 loss to La Salle on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The rematch for last season’s semifinals turned ugly quick as the Soaring Falcons trailed by 24, giving up 36 points early in the game to a Ben Mbala led Green Archers attack.
Having been around the collegiate coaching circuit for a long time now, to say that this is the worst he have seen speaks volumes to their struggles.
“We had an awful start. I think that’s the worst start for a team that I’ve handled,” Pumaren told reporters after the loss.
Pumaren, however, still saw a lot of positives in the loss including their tenacity on defense after forcing the Green Archers to turnover after turnover and nearly made a game out of the blowout.
“You know, even though we had a bad start, we were able to make a comeback. Unfortunately it fell short, but forcing them to 26 turnovers is already a feat for us,” he added.
After that hellish quarter, it was nearly all Adamson as they outscored the defending champion 61-49 over the next three quarters.
Rob Manalang and Jerie Pingoy starred in that rally, slowly dissecting that La Salle press while forcing the defending champions to error after error and make an interesting fourth quarter out of it.
Pumaren lauded his wards’ effort on that stretch, even citing that the difference was “night and day,” as he saw his players finally play to their true potential.
“If you look at the whole scenario, when we settled down, it was a different Adamson. It was a night and day difference. We clawed back when we were down by 24,” Pumaren said.
Pumaren also noted having success in limiting La Salle’s locals particularly stopping Aljun Melecio who finished with just two points after an average of 24.5 points in their first two wins.
“We were able to limit their productions, in terms of local. We all know Mbala played his best game, this is his career high, but you look at the whole La Salle, we were able to do a good job shutting them down.”
It was just unfortunate that they weren’t able to maintain that tenacious run, owing to lack of execution in the end game.
For Pumaren, it comes with the territory of having a young team.
“We should also remember that we’re a very young team. The veterans, they hardly played last season except for Papi, that’s a part of coaching a young team. We have to, not anticipate, but we expect sometimes it will happen like that.”