By Jerome Lagunzad
(Mall of Asia Arena)
2 p.m. – UE vs Ateneo
4 p.m. – FEU vs UP
While a Final Four berth in the UAAP Season 80 basketball tournament is already within reach, Adamson coach Franz Pumaren is keeping his expectations at modest in terms of clinching a playoff incentive.
After all, Adamson is still running third with a 7-4 mark, two full games behind defending champion La Salle which remains at second spot with a 9-2 mark. Ateneo, which has an inside track for the first twice-to-beat advantage, enjoys the view at the top with a flawless 10-0 mark.
But Pumaren is urging the Soaring Falcons not to look that far ahead, saying they need to make the most out of their remaining three matches as they try to cover all the bases in time for the bigger battles.
“What’s important is we do our own business. We have three games to go and we still have to do the best of what we can do,” he stressed. “We have to beat the next three opponents, and so be it. We just have to be ready for any kind of situation.”
Judging the way they performed in a hard-earned 75-70 victory over pesky University of Santo Tomas last Wednesday, the Soaring Falcons still have plenty of sharpening to do with their claws and top gunner Jerrick Ahanmisi couldn’t stress that hard enough.
“I think we should’ve played a lot better,” said the younger brother of Rain or Shine guard Maverick who tallied a game-high 21 points, including key buckets down the stretch.
Even Cameroon big man Papi Sarr echoed Ahanmisi’s observation. “Honestly, I know Coach Franz is not happy for the win and the way we played today. It’s okay, we won the game, but the problem is how, how we played against UST. We’ve been preparing a lot but we didn’t actually play our game.”
Indeed, the Soaring Falcons struggled to brush off the stubborn Growling Tigers until Sarr made a pair of freebies then Ahanmisi followed it three straight points that shattered the game’s seventh overall deadlock and put them ahead by five with 26.4 seconds left.