Adamson Soaring Falcons def. DLSU Green Archers 57-50
Sean Manganti (19 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists)
It’s so fun to see Manganti grow into his role as a creator on offense. His length matched with his agility was a huge problem for La Salle. There were times Jerie Pingoy would just throw the pass above the defenders’ heads to where only Manganti could reach it by out-jumping everyone. He was a problem for bigs, he was a problem for guards, opponents know, when Manganti is playing against them, there’s going to be a problem.
Papi Sarr (12 points, 15 rebounds, 1 blocks)
This is the Papi Sarr Adamson fans have been longing for in the first round. Active on the boards, active on the floor, making the simple play, and then dazzling with the highlight move every now and then. Aside from providing much utilized size, an active Sarr is nearly unstoppable when he gets a clean look at the basket. La Salle practically clamped down on Adamson’s guards in the first round leading to La Salle getting the overtime victory, it was almost the same story in this game,however, Papi Sarr coming alive made all the difference.
Jerie Pingoy (6 points, 5 assists)
There’s a reason he was highly recruited coming out of high school. Contributions to the team don’t always show up on the box stats especially when it means guarding the opponent’s best player. Jerie Pingoy had the unenviable task of guarding an incredible talent in Aljun Melecio. While Melecio still scored 18 points, it took him 23 attempts to get them. But Pingoy is more than his defense and he showed it by orchestrating the offense to the tune of 5 assists, and nailing a couple of three pointers, one of which was a dagger in the 4th quarter.
Aljun Melecio (18 points 8/23 FG, 30 minutes, 8 rebounds)
Shooters shoot, so Aljun does. With Adamson learning their lesson from the first round and clamping down on La Salle’s bigs, Aljun Melecio was forced to do what he does best, which is score. With Baltazar, Montalbo and Santillan practically taken out of the equation, it was up to Aljun to bear the scoring load. While he was able to make some amazing shots, the sheer volume of attempts he needed in order to get his points ultimately hurt La Salle.
Encho Serrano (10 points, 24 minutes, 5 rebounds)
One of the few bright spots for La Salle this game, Encho has had difficulty adjusting to the college game but thanks to his break out game against UE, has finally found his footing. While he didn’t exactly dominate, his presence was constantly felt, whether it was crashing boards, going for steals or finishing in transition. Encho isn’t turning heads the way he used to as a Baby Falcon, but his performance in this game can serve as a slight indication of what to expect from him in seasons to come.
- The game started VERY slowly. La Salle posted a record low 0 made field goals in the first quarter with the only points they had coming off the line courtesy of two free throws from Joaquin Manuel. Going 0 for 19 from the field was not entirely La Salle’s fault as Adamson was determined to defend the rim at all cost. Sometimes Adamson’s defensive reputation did the work for them as La Salle guards repeatedly rushed or strong armed what should have been easy layups, adding to their shooting woes.
- Adamson couldn’t capitalize on La Salle missing shots as they scored only 9 points themselves in that first quarter. The first 10 minutes of the game looked more like a game of hot potato rather than basketball with Adamson making the occasional field goal. None the less, the tone for the rest of the game was set on these 10 minutes of frantically chasing after loose balls and scrambling to pry it off whoever had it as the gameplans were clear: La Salle wanted to push the tempo while Adamson wanted to use their height.
- After losing to La Salle in the first round, it seems Adamson realized what their edge over them was, and it was height. Sean Manganti being almost as tall as Bates was an absolute godsend for Adamson since he was able to handle the ball like a guard, allowing other tall teammates to crowd the paint. On multiple occasions, Adamson’s mode of attack was to simply lob the ball into the paint over the heads of the La Salle defenders. It also didn’t hurt that while Brandon Bates and Justin Baltazar were swatting machines when defending post-ups, Manganti, Sarr, and Camacho were building up a head of steam and using drives as their main mode of attack.
- For the most part, La Salle was able to get by with defense, forcing misses and running back on transition. Unfortunately, they didn’t have much in the way of half-court offense the moment Baltazar and Bates were forced out of the paint. Aljun Melecio is a good scorer with an incredible motor and will be the last assignment any player in the UAAP will look forward to, but he simply cannot do it alone from a system standpoint. Perhaps this is part of their maturity as a team, but their road to the Final Four has to be built on consistent offense from players other than Aljun Melecio.
- Jerrick Ahanmisi might not have put up big numbers but his presence was felt throughout the game. By reputation Ahanmisi demands constant coverage from defenders, a reputation he reinforced by dropping triples each time Kib Montalbo tried to gamble off him. Playing 33 minutes, being the focal point of the opponent’s defense and not committing a single turnover goes to show how steady an anchor Ahanmisi is. His steadiness allows his teammates to calm down and play basketball, including allowing captain Sean Manganti to lead them.