“We were kind of flat today,” said Adamson University head coach Franz Pumaren. His Falcons just endured an 85-65 beating versus last year’s UAAP finalists, the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles. “I don’t think that was our usual game.”
Part of the reason for Adamson’s uncharacteristic showing was the absence of star center Papi Sarr. The Cameroonian Sarr was unavailable for the game as he was nursing a groin injury that has sidelined him for the past couple of days.
“It’s still day-to-day,” Pumaren said of Sarr’s injury which was sustained in one of the Falcons’ practices.
With a glaring hole on their front line, as a result, Ateneo nitpicked Adamson inside the paint. This cannot be more apparent than with center Chi Ikeh who tallied uncharacteristically stellar numbers with 18 points and 17 rebounds. The Eagles’ big men feasted in Sarr’s absence as they outrebounded the Falcons 60-35 that resulted into a 29-6 disparity in second chance points. “Ikeh dominated us, we had a hard time trying to contain him.”
Despite their significant disadvantage, however, Pumaren said it should not be an excuse. “I’m one coach who won’t dwell on that. I’ve been coaching for the longest time but you’ll never hear from me saying, ‘If this player lang was here or (this player) was there.'”
“We always prepare for the worst case scenario. If he’s there, it’s a bonus. If he’s not there, the other guys should step up,” Pumaren said. “Part of my job is to make the most of your remaining players.”
Moving on from the loss, the multi-titled mentor is optimistic the Falcons will get better.
“It’s just a case of Ateneo played well and us we played bad. But advantage lang right here, right now is this is just the first game, we still have seven games to go.” Pumaren shared. “We saw what we need to work on, we saw weaknesses, we saw our strength.”
Adamson’s next game will be on September 16, Saturday at 4 pm against the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers.