MANILA, Philippines – Even after conceding to the University of the Philippines on Bright Akhuetie's game-winner, Adamson head coach Franz Pumaren still looked unshaken.
"Do I look concerned about it? Do I like stress about it?" a calm and collected Pumaren asked after his Falcons failed on their first try to nail a UAAP championship berth.
"I guess we should’ve gotten the victory in spite of us playing bad. You know that’s a very good sign. We played bad, we were down the whole game, but when we started playing the system, the right brand of game, we were able to get back."
The second-seeded Falcons absorbed a narrow 71-73 loss to the Fighting Maroons in front of a UP-dominated crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday, November 24.
The Soaring Falcons shot only one triple out of 22 attempts, but managed to rally back from a double-digit deficit to nab the lead late in the 4th quarter, thanks to Sean Manganti's back-to-back baskets for a 69-65 edge with 2:18 minutes left.
But the Fighting Maroons came through the clutch with Paul Desiderio knocking in a baseline jumper and Akhuetie burying the game-winner to seal the game.
Paul Desiderio does the job and the UP stands are SHAKING! 71-69, UP with 5.5 seconds to go! #UAAPSeason81 | @beebeego09 pic.twitter.com/ZrX8Ee1nTJ — Rappler Sports (@RapplerSports) November 24, 2018
Pumaren took the loss in stride. After two seasons of getting booted out of the Final Four early, the Falcons get another shot this time as they're enjoying the benefits of the twice-to-beat bonus they earned after a successful elimination round.
"That's why during the whole season, we worked hard for that," added Pumaren.
"You know, we lost this game but if you look at the other side of the coin, there's still one more game."
After getting a taste of what the Fighting Maroons could do, the Falcons immediately vow to move on from the setback and give it their all on Wednesday to notch their first Finals berth in 26 years. – Rappler.com
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.