UP’s coach still believes that it’s their defense that will win them games.
Looking at the stats and the offensive ratings, it seems defense was the last thing on both teams’ minds. By waxing hot from beyond the arc and on their jumpshots, UP Fighting Maroons buried Adamson Soaring Falcons in a big enough hole that the Falcons’ late-game comeback got them close but not quite.
What killed the Falcons this game was the 33 turnovers they gave up throughout the game. What kept them in it was the 33 freethrows they made. To be fair, the Maroons were able to shut the Falcons down from the inside, allowing only nine two-point baskets all game even with Papi Sarr on the floor. But if they will continue to believe that it’s their defense which will win them games, Adamson just exposed a lot of weaknesses they need to clean up.
Unlike their first meeting, the Fighting Maroons were able to get their wingmen going from beyond the arc. Henry Asilum hit three from outside, Jett Manuel hit two, Diego Dario hit another two, and Pio Longa hit another couple. This spelled the difference for the Falcons as the floor was spread and they were forced to play honest defense.
Having their shooters click meant UP could better operate on offense. No longer did they have to rely on Paul Desiderio’s amazing plays to fish for points. By not forcing the issue against Papi Sarr through Cheick Kone and Andrew Harris, UP was able to negate Sarr’s defensive presence.
While the 33 turnovers does make a case for UP’s defensive prowess, the closing minutes of the game say otherwise.
With two minutes left in the game UP allowed Adamson to score 10 points off field goals and fished fouls. This is a far cry from the two points Adamson allowed down the stretch of their last game.
On the other hand, players are starting to grow into their roles for Adamson. After getting his big offensive break against UP, Jerome Garcia looks like he has not only been given the green light, but given himself the green light to shoot from beyond the arc. Nico Capote will not shy away from a jump shot and Joseph Nalos will continue to be the designated distributor while Alvin Margallo is the bruiser of the bunch.
It will be interesting to see from now on how well they develop into their roles and how well coach Mike Fermin can bring out the best in them. Offense is quickly not becoming a problem for Adamson, seeing as how coach Fermin used to be the offensive coordinator for the Falcons before becoming head honcho. Their defense, however, needs to improve as they let UP, a team that doesn’t profess to be a good scoring team, simply outshoot them.
Looking forward, expect Adamson to continue improving on their offensive roles while they find ways to patch up their defense or lack thereof. Win or lose, everything they do now is simply laying the foundations for the seasons to come.