Adamson watched a 20-point lead slip away but recovered just in time as the Falcons survived the UP Fighting Maroons, 69-67, in their first round matchup of UAAP Season 75 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Rodney Brondial followed up a miss from rookie Jericho Cruz to break a 67-all tie with 18 seconds to go, and UP’s Alvin Padilla missed a potential game-winning three-pointer as Adamson finally broke into the win column after opening the season with two losses.
“It was an ugly win for us. But a win is a win,” said Adamson coach Leo Austria.
“Imagine, we’re leading by 20 points at one time, and then all of a sudden, nakalamang sa amin. I’m thankful dito sa mga players. They were able to recover and yung composure nila na-regain nila.”
The Falcons led 28-8 after the first quarter and looked set to cruise to their first win of the season. But UP lived up to their ‘fighting’ monicker, chipping away at the Adamson lead as they cut it down to just nine by halftime.
In the third quarter, the Fighting Maroons gave the Adamson defense problems with their penetration game, as they continued to work on the Falcons’ lead until they tied it on a pair of jumpers from rookie Henry Asilum that tied the game first at 48 and again at 50 at the end of the third.
The Maroons briefly took the lead with 4:01 remaining in the game as a Jelo Montecastro free throw gave them a 59-58 lead. But a pair of baskets from Falcons forward Eric Camson sparked a 9-3 run that gave Adamson a 67-62 lead with about a minute to play.
UP had one more run in them as Mark Lopez hit a three and Padilla stole the ball and went the other away for a layup as they knotted the game at 67-apiece with just 40 seconds to play.
Cruz missed his attempt for Adamson, but Brondial who finished with a game-high 15 rebounds, followed it up to give the Falcons a slim two-point lead. Padilla missed his attempt on UP’s final possession.
Camson, who finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Brondial, who had 10 and 15, took advantage of a small UP lineup in the final period to score 14 of the team’s 19 points in the quarter. Camson had 10 points and Brondial had four points on a pair of putbacks as Adamson escaped with the victory.
Camson almost turned into the goat, though, after he missed a series of crucial free throws that could have given the Falcons a comfortable margin late in the game. But he made up for it on back-to-back baskets from Alex Nuyles passes that started their late run that put the up by five late in the game.
“Andun na siguro yung pressure tsaka yung pagod na rin,” Camson said of his misses from the free throw line. “Yung last two shots na binigay sa kin ni Nuyles, sabi ko hindi ko na ito bibitawan.”
The Falcons outrebounded the Maroons 44-31 and had eight more second-chance points in the game. UP, though, forced Adamson into 21 turnovers as they fought back from a big first quarter deficit.
Lopez led UP with 17 points while Chris Ball added 13. Mike SIlungan was held down to just three points on 1-for-9 shooting.
Adamson (69) – Cruz 19, Camson 19, Brondial 10, Nuyles 9, Rios 3, Petilos 3, Monteclaro 3, Etrone 3, Trollano 0, Julkipli 0, Deans 0, Cabrera 0, Abrigo 0.
UP (67) – Lopez 17, Ball 13, Padilla 9, Montecastro 7, Gamboa 6, Manuel 4, Asilum 4, Silungan 3, Soyud 2, Hipolito 2, Mbah 0, Romero 0, Gallarza 0.
Quarterscores: 28-8, 37-28, 50-50, 69-67.
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