Falcons, Eagles triumph in UAAP opener

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Papi Sarr of Adamson University battles for the rebound against University of the Philippines players during the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 men’s basketball tournament on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.  BOB DUNGO JR.

Papi Sarr of Adamson University battles for the rebound against University of the Philippines players during the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 men’s basketball tournament on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
BOB DUNGO JR.

Adamson University welcomed multi-titled head coach Franz Pumaren with a big win in his return in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 men’s basketball tournament’s opening day on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.

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Rookie Jerrick Ahanmisi displayed an impeccable shooting form by hitting 6-of-7 in the three-point zone to finish with 28 points and six rebounds as the Falcons manhandled the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons, 104-85, to win their opening game. “It is nice to be back here,” Pumaren, who was appointed by Adamson as coach last December, told reporters during the post game interview.

“We still have many jitters especially to my young guys particularly in the physical aspects of the game.”

Even though they already won the game, the former La Salle mentor remained far from being satisfied. “Giving up 85 points is not a Pumaren type of basketball,” he added. “We committed mental mistakes but glad we just overcame it. What important is we maximize the talent of the players.”

The last time Pumaren coached in the UAAP was with La Salle in 2009. He also coached the Air21 Express in the Philippine Basketball Association from 2011 to 2014.

Rookie playmaker Robbie Manalang poured in 16 points and issued nine assists, while forward Dawn Ochea added 13 points and 6’8 Cameroonian center Papi Sarr also contributed 13 points plus 11 rebounds and two blocks also for the Falcons.

“It was an exciting performance in my game and I felt nervous,” said Ahanmisi, the younger brother of Rain or Shine combo 6’3 guard Maverick who presently plays for the PBA. “It is a blessing playing for the crowd.”

The younger Ahanmisi was very accurate in his shooting, missing only once in his 11 attempts. Overall, the Falcons shot 37-of-56 in the field (66%) against the Fighting Maroons’ 34-of-72 (47.2%). Adamson shot 13-of-19 in the three-point zone (68.4%) against UP’s 5-of-15 (33.3%).

Adamson played well at the start of the game and established a 28-18 lead in the first period. Adamson also stayed leading at the halftime break, 46-38. The Falcons unleashed a blazing 27-19 run highlighted by Ahanmisi’s third quarter 13 points extending the cushion to 73-57 at the start of fourth period.

But the Fighting Maroons gave the Falcons a dose of their own medicine in the early part of final period when they employed a trapping defense to come within 77-83 with still four-minute left in the game.

UP, under the tutelage of new coach Bo Perasol, suffered a 0-1 win-loss start. Andres Desiderio and Jett Manuel led the Fighting Maroons with 24 points and 15 points, respectively.

In the second game, Ateneo de Manila University tamed University of Santo Tomas, 73-69, to join Adamson on top of the standings with a 1-0 start.

The Growling Tigers dropped to 0-1.

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