ADAMSON booked the third berth in UAAP Season 80 Final Four by ripping University of the Philippines, 86-70, on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Falcons went on a 12-0 burst near the end with Jerrick Ahanmisi scoring six of his 10 points in that stretch to douse cold water on a late UP uprising.
Leading by as many as 21 in the third, the Falcons saw their lead trimmed to eight, 74-66, early in the fourth period behind the hot hands of Paul Desiderio.
That however proved to be the final fight for the Maroons as the Falcons tightened their defense while Ahanmisi picked his spots well for the crucial victory.
The Falcons improved to 9-4 for the tournament, the No. 3 seeding secure, while UP slid to fifth with a 5-7 record.
“I guess we exceeded our performance last year. Last year we won eight games. I think we’re ahead right now one game going into the last game of the elimination so that’s an improvement already,” said Falcons coach Franz Pumaren.
“During this stretch, every game is important. It’s a learning experience for us,” he added.
Papi Sarr had his best game of the season as he finished with 25 points on an ultra-efficient 9-14 shooting to go along with 17 rebounds.
Jerie Pingoy was also as impressive as he finished with 15 points, eight assists and six steals without a single turnover in just 24 minutes of action.
Robbie Manalang added 10 points.
The drama escalated on the sidelines near the end of the third period when a UP fan wearing a campus media ID had to be escorted out after throwing what looked like the halftime statsheet onto the floor.
The fan, later identified as Gabe Sante, seemed to be fed up with all the fouls called against their squad as Adamson was rewarded 28 free throws to UP’s 10 as a whole.
Desiderio led the Fighting Maroons with 20 points while Jun Manzo added 15 in the loss.
As if things couldn’t get any worse for the Maroons, they lost starting center Ibrahim Ouattara late in the fourth quarter to what looked like a sprained ankle.
Adamson 86 – Sarr 25, Pingoy 15, Ahanmisi 11, Manalang 10, Espeleta 8, Manganti 5, Ochea 4, Hill 4, Camacho 4, Lojera 0, Mustre 0, Bernardo 0, Paranada 0.
UP 70 – Desiderio 20, Manzo 15, Gomez de Liano 10, Vito 6, Lim 4, Dario 3, Jaboneta 3, Webb 3, Ouattara 2, Romero 2, Lao 2, Harris 0, Prado 0.
Quarterscores: 18-17; 39-31; 69-50; 86-70.