Adamson Soaring Falcons def. NU Bulldogs 63-58
Sean Manganti, Adamson (14 points, 4 assists, 2 steals)
Sean Manganti wore his captain’s hat yet again, setting the tone as soon as the opening tip. Manganti’s size, length and added skills caused problems for NU, more than making up for his lack of heft.
Aside from creating baskets out of thin air, Captain Manganti led the charge defensively too coming up with a couple of steals. But his best performance of leadership was embracing the pressure of preventing a meltdown. After Dave Ildefonso hit a quick three to cut Adamson’s lead to 3, Adamson ran the risk of being on the receiving end of an epic comeback. Fortunately Manganti did not shy away from the ball when the pressure was greatest and calmly hit his freethrows to put the game out of reach.
Simon Camacho, Adamson (8 points, 3 blocks, 1 steal)
What a time for him to deliver for the Falcons. Just when the game was heating up, the unlikely spark that Simon Camacho’s 8 point fourth quarter was just what they needed to get a big enough cushion going into the last 2 minutes of the game.
For Simon’s classmates, the fourth quarter was like watching him dominate the RSO Sports fests again, sprinting from basket to basket of the Ozanam parking lot. His scoring outburst showed off the leaps and bounds improvement he has made since first playing in the league.
Simon’s length also gave NU problems as he was able to block 3 shots and close out on shooters, including one possession where he forced Dave Ildefonso to freeze on the jumpshot.
Dave Ildefonso, NU (14 points, 1/7 3FG)
The brightest spot for NU in this game, Dace Ildefonso constantly torched Adamson’s defense with his craftiness on scoring. Unfortunately for the rookie his jumpers just weren’t falling.
The value of his presence was on full display in the dying seconds of the game. Off a timeout, Dave ran the out of timeout play drawn up by Coach Jamike to perfection, resulting in a three pointer with hardly any time running off the clock.
Troy Rike, NU (8 second half points, 11 rebounds)
Making his debut in the UAAP, Troy Rike, a heavily sought after rookie, took some time to adjust to the physicality of the UAAP.
Rike was visibly bothered by the likes of Papi Sarr and Simon Camacho constantly bodying up against him. He finally found his groove in the second half, helping NU pull off a mini-run at the end of the 4th, but alas it was too little too late for the Bulldogs.
- The Soaring Falcons were constantly looking to break the game wide open at the start of the second half, but the pesky Bulldogs would not allow themselves to be shaken off and continued answering run for run. The game looked like it was about to get out of hand midway through the fourth, but instead of rolling over and taking the L, the Bulldogs put up a run to cut the lead to 3.
- As a team, the Bulldogs’ greatest weakness is also their greatest strength. They’re young, led by rookies but it also means they’re energetic and determined. Dave Ildefonso and Troy Rike will eventually turn out to be the centerpieces to a competitive NU Bulldogs team someday, but they will have to suffer through the pains of growth.
- Adamson’s steady hand won them the day. Their rookies performed surprisingly well trying to fend off a looming comeback from NU in the dying minutes. Jerom Lastimosa was able to make a crucial bakset and offensive rebound, tipping the scales in favor of the Falcons.
NU Bulldogs are a well-led team both on and off the court whose only fault right now is being young. Refusing to lay down for an unbeaten team speaks volumes about their character and passion, unfortunately, games are also won on experience and execution, which Adamson has an abundance of.