It appears that another obstacle is added to the tireless pursuit to basketball relativity as UP Fighting Maroons were simply outclassed by the Adamson Soaring Falcons, 79-67, in their first game of Season 76 campaign last June 30.

Third quarter seemed to be the difference as the Falcons unloaded a blistering 17-7 run at the early part to take the lead as high as 18. UP countered with a 14-2 late in the quarter and came close within six, 55-49. However, Falcons responded with a 10-0 run, spanning from the dying seconds of third quarter to early fourth quarter, and did not look back.

UP’s reserves were not able to match the intensity of Falcons’ bench as gunner Roider Cabrera poured in 10 points while rookie Axel Iñigo was stellar with his role as backup playmaker with three points and six assists.

Starting point guard Mikee Reyes had a little argument with head coach Ricky Dandan at the second quarter after subbing him and did not return to the action. Backup point guard Henry Asilum, who was a a little bit sloppy early, had a decent outing with 10 points.

The Fighting Maroons trying to power down the double-double performance of Adamson's Sewa. (Photo Credit: Mark Cristino, ABS-CBN News)

The Fighting Maroons trying to power down the double-double performance of Adamson’s Sewa. (Photo Credit: Mark Cristino, ABS-CBN News)

Review of the Keys of the Game

  1. Start strong. Jericho Cruz went berserk and scored five points in the first minute of the opening quarter. However, UP was able to hold their ground and finished first quarter trailing only by five, 13-18, despite committing four turnovers at the first three minutes and early foul troubles of Raul Soyud.
  2. Snag the rebound. Falcons simply out-hustled the Fighting Maroons in this game, out-rebounding them by 24, 53-29. When a team is outrebounded by 24, the chances of winning are perhaps the same as the probability of solving poverty in one day.  It didn’t help UP’s cause that their starting frontcourt were in foul trouble early on as Soyud and Chris Ball had two fouls each at the first quarter.  Rodney Brondial and Ingrid Sewa were simply an indestructible force inside the paint as they grabbed  10 rebounds apiece.
  3. Spoil Sewa’s debut. Early on, UP appeared to be the right track as regards to Sewa as he only managed two points and four rebounds after two quarters.  After the halftime break, he transformed into a towering presence on both sides of the court as he poured 11 points on 5-5 FG shooting and added six rebounds at the third quarter alone when Adamson tried to pull away. Sewa finished the game with a double-double, 15 points and 10 boards.

Review of the Key Matchup

Sam Marata vs Jericho Cruz

Oh boy, they did not disappoint as we were treated to an offensive showcase between the two players. Marata, on his first duty as King Maroon, knocked down game-high 20 points while Cruz, who was relentlessly attacking the Maroons defense inside all game long, notched 19 points.

Final Thoughts

It was very evident that UP is missing the services of versatile wingmen that they had last year in Mark Lopez and Alvin Padilla. Cruz was simply unguardable and unstoppable slashing through the basket. Help defense was lacking, maybe due to early foul troubles to Soyud and Ball, but big reserves like Pascual, Paras and Harris have to step their game a notch higher in order to compete with the big men in UAAP.

But we cannot take away the good games of Marata, Asilum and perhaps rookie Kyles Lao. Marata appeared to be ready and sharp as he knocked down those perimeter shots. It is also fascinating that he is attacking to the basket on few occasions. Asilum seems to be playmaker that is better fit with this lineup. And lastly, Lao is very fun and exciting to watch. With his limited time on the court, he was so fearless attacking the basket. It would be fitting and appropriate that he’d be given more playing time as UP needs another solid scoring option aside from Marata.