ADAMSON University rallied from 10-point deficit entering the final period and banked on Dawn Ochea’s game-winner to shock Ateneo de Manila, 62-61, in Season 79 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Colisuem.
Ochea, who struggled all-game long offensively, received an inbound pass and converted a well-contested jumper to deliver the go ahead basket with 1.9 ticks left as Blue Eagles’ Thirdy Ravena’ attempt missed the target in the ensuing play.
It was the first win of the Soaring Falcons against the Blue Eagles since Season 74 and, more important, improved their standing to 2-1 win-loss mark, while Ateneo dropped to 2-2.
“Dawn Ochea made me look like a coaching genius,” Adamson Head Coach Franz Pumaren said.
Ateneo was leading 56-46 after the third canto but Robbie Manalang and Papi Sarr joined forces and put the Soaring Falcons back in the game.
Manalang’s three-pointer tied the game for the last time at 60-all and after a split by Ateneo center Chibueze Ikeh, 61-60, both teams traded errors before Sarr completed a steal off Adrian Wong to give Adamson another shot.
Pumaren then inserted Ochea back in the game and the Cebuano forward hit the golden back to shock the Ateneo players supporters.
Manalang led the Soaring Falcons with 15 points while Jerrick Ahanmisi and Sarr each had 13. Sarr also grabbed 16 rebounds.
Anton Asistio was the lone Ateneo player in double figures with 12 points.
In the opener, University of Santo Tomas (UST) bounced back from a 38-point shackling after outlasting University of the Philippines (UP), 83-77, for its second win in four matches.
Skipper Louie Vigil showcased his all-around game with 18 points, six rebounds and seven assists, but the Growling Tigers needed the clutch points from Regie Boy Basibas and Oliver de Guzman to seal the win and keep the Fighting Maroons winless after three starts.
Basibas and de Guzman each had 11 markers for UST, which extended its mastery over the Diliman-based team to 19 straight games.
“I talked to each one of them. Kailangan ’yung character lumabas para maka-bounce back kami this game. Dumating sa amin ’yung sipag na nawala sa amin,” said Growling Tigers Head Coach Boy Sablan, referring to their 62-100 loss to De La Salle the previous game.
“The last two days, hindi ko na sila pinatakbo. More on mental at game plan ang ginawa namin,” Sablan added.
Kent Lao and Renzo Subido added 10 apiece for UST, which saw its 68-57 lead evaporated when the Fighting Maroons unleashed an 11-0 bomb capped by Diego Dario’s triple, 68-all, 4:16 remaining.
De Guzman hit a three-pointer in the next play but Javier Gomez de Liano responded with his own trey to tie the game for the last time at 71-all.
Basibas nailed a triple in the ensuing play that sparked a 10-3 run to give UST an 81-74 separation, under two minutes remaining.
Jet Manuel led the Fighting Maroons with 19 points while Dario chipped in 14. Gomez de Liano and Paul Desiderio contributed 12 and 10 markers, respectively, for Head Coach Bo Perasol.
The loss was 19 in a row by the Fighting Maroons to the Growling Tigers. The last time UP won against UST was in Season 69, when it swept both games in the elimination round.
Image credits: Nonoy Lacza