By Jerome Lagunzad
Newcomer Akari-Adamson passed its initial test in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup with flying colors last Thursday night when it pulled the rug from under fancied Marinerong Pilipino, 80-75, at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
But veteran coach Franz Pumaren admitted the Soaring Falcons, featuring several new faces, could still get better once they continue to polish some rough edges which have been visible with their sluggish start against the erstwhile favored Skippers.
“We’re still a work in progress,” said Pumaren, trying his best to tone down the hype after Akari toppled what’s been perceived by many as the top title favorite built around some of the country’s amateur and collegiate standouts.
After playing catchup majority of the way, the Soaring Falcons turned it up late behind their rejuvenated defensive stance, highlighted by top gunner Jerrick Ahanmisi’s crucial steal that led to Simon Camacho’s go-ahead three-point play with 10.9 seconds left.
“I just have to lead our team coming into another year,” said the younger brother of Rain or Shine standout Maverick who finished with a game-high 23 points, spiked by four triples, on top of five rebounds and four assists.
“I’m the most experienced (player) so I gotta lead the younger guys and show to them how we should play every game.”