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Sarr back at his best

By Jerome Lagunzad

Games Tomorrow
(Mall of Asia Arena)
2 p.m. – Adamson vs UP
4 p.m. – UE vs La Salle

Adamson is starting to play to its true potential and so does recovering big man Papi Sarr.

That could only mean big trouble no less for the Soaring Falcons’ upcoming rivals – University of the Philippines and host Far Eastern University – this week as they try to close out their first-round campaign in the UAAP Season 80 basketball tournament on a strong note.

UE's Alvin Pasaol blocks Adamson's Papi Sarr during the UAAP Season 80 match at Smart Araneta Coliseum, October 1, 2017 (Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

UE’s Alvin Pasaol blocks Adamson’s Papi Sarr during the UAAP Season 80 match at Smart Araneta Coliseum, October 1, 2017 (Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Hobbled by a groin injury in their first three matches, the 6-foot-7 Sarr has been making steady recovery underscored by double-double performances in the Soaring Falcons’ back-to-back victories that put them in a tie at fourth spot alongside the Fighting Maroons with similar 3-2 marks.

The bridesmaid finisher in the UAAP MVP race last year, Sarr piled up 19 points, 13 rebounds, two steals and an assist in Adamson’s 83-76 victory over National University last Sept. 24.

He followed it up with an equally solid showing of 15 points, 16 rebounds, a pair of steals and an assist in their 79-60 beating of the University of the East Red Warriors last Sunday.

As dominant as he’s been playing late, Sarr feels he’s not in his tip-top shape yet. “I can’t say that I am 100 percent yet. I’ve been trying to get back because I lose a lot after my injury. Honestly, I feel myself is 60 percent. In practice I’m not yet myself I feel it,” he said.

That should be music to Soaring Falcons coach Franz Pumaren’s ears if Sarr still has more to offer since they will take on the Fighting Maroons tomorrow and the rampaging Tamaraws on Saturday in a pair of critical matches among top Final Four contenders.

“This is a brutal week for us and the last two games will be crucial on our part to end the (first round) above .500,” said Pumaren.

“I mentioned it to the players since last week that’s why we’ve been practicing hard because we know for sure that we’ll have this kind of schedule. We just have to make the most out of it. That’s part of playing in the UAAP. You just have to make sure that you are in good shape.”