UP Fighting Maroons def. AdU Soaring Falcons 83 – 82
Kobe Paras (Game- high 20 points in UAAP debut)
First game in and already Kobe Paras is looking as good as advertised for UP. His size and athleticism is just what UP needed in order pull one over against the smaller Adamson squad. Paras playing aggressive got him 11 attempts to the free throw line. He was a foul magnet, more than making up for his 33% field goal shooting. His lack of shooting from range can be chalked up to first game jitters, having yet to find his shooting rhythm. But with an effective driving ability like his, there’s no rush to find that shooting touch.
Bright Akhuetie (18 points, 18 rebounds)
Without a doubt, Bright Akhuetie is the heart and soul of this UP team. He is the MVP for a reason and his contributions to UP show up clear as day on the stat sheet. Bright was a huge factor down in the clutch, blocking shots, grabbing boards and making freethrows. He had 10 offensive rebounds in the game, and this was going up against a 6’11 Lenda Douanga. Majority of his 18 points came through effort, cleaning up after his volume scorer teammates. He is even talented enough to get a live ball steal on an isolation play against Ahanmisi.
Valandre Chauca (outscored UP 15 to 7 in the 2nd quarter)
When you’re hot, you’re hot, and that was Valandre Chauca in the 2nd quarter of the game. He was showing off what he could do in that quarter, taking big threes and chopping up the defense. Valandre still has a lot of lone wolf feels to him since he’s a very late addition to the team, but in as big a game as this, he was starting to gel with his teammates. It’s great that Adamson has a guard who can score and run the offense at the same time.
Adrian Manlapaz (9 points in 4th quarter, 1 block in overtime)
A rookie who isn’t afraid of the big moments? Gimme more of that. Straight out of highschool, the former Baby Falcon wasn’t exactly the most reliable player for them in the first 3 quarters, but when crunch time came and the Falcons were trying to mount a comeback, boy did he step up. He wasn’t afraid to take the ball into the lane and lay it up among the trees, he wasn’t afraid to shoot the three despite not having made one yet. With his confidence up, the Soaring Falcons can see this as part of the sped up development they’re looking for. 5 more years of this in the UAAP and we’ll be in for a treat.
- UP is brimming with talent and that talent alone will win them a lot of games. Having Bright Akhuetie around is the glue that holds all the volume scorers together because of his ability to clean up after them. None of the known scorers, Paras, Rivero or Gomez de Liano had good field goal percentages yet it didn’t hurt them. A my-turn-your-turn approach to their scoring won’t be too bad as long as they’re conscious in knowing that that is what they’re doing, and Bright is there to get 10 offensive rebounds again.
- Adamson’s full court press isn’t as effective as before. Heck, Adamson is nowhere near peak shape right now. But it was good enough to make UP panic, and when I say panic, I mean sending 5 players to the backcourt just to inbound the ball, a tactic UP used last year.
- Bright Akhuetie as press breaker is what allowed UP to get back into the game. His ability to push the ball forced Adamson to stop using the full court press, leading to less turnovers by UP and less transition offense for Adamson.
- Adamson has a huge half court offense problem. The 3rd quarter meltdown was a result of an inability to generate consistent offense from halfcourt sets. UP pounced on this, converting bad passes and long rebounds into easy transition points. Adamson didn’t have the size to contest UP fastbreaks.
- This game was lost by Adamson more than it was won by UP. A good offense was a good defense for UP because everything stemmed from them not turning the ball over. In the 2nd quarter UP turned the ball over 10 times letting Adamson get the huge lead. In the 3rd, they committed 0 turnovers. Adamson really just played bad and allowed UP to come back.
- Has anyone seen Jerrick Ahanmisi’s shooting? His scoring ability is still there going 3/5 from inside the arc. Outside? 0/6. He even missed a wide open three in overtime, and this was after draining 7 triples against UE.