Ahead of their last game of the elimination round, the Falcons were in high spirits, wanting to enter the playoffs on a winning note.
And while coach Franz Pumaren tuned his boys into Final Four mode as early as their game against UP, misfortune after misfortune hit Adamson against FEU last weekend.
Playing a virtually no-bearing game against a squad fighting for the last slot in the playoffs, the Soaring Falcons first lost sharpshooting Jerrick Ahanmisi early in the game to a sprain.
Ahanmisi, who has been stellar for Adamson in their winning run, only played under seven minutes and ended his day with two points on 1/4 shooting.
Despite that, however, the Falcons were still able to go toe-to-toe with a determined Tamaraws side.
Robbie Manalang picked up the slack in scoring as he scored nine of his 15 markers in the first half alone to keep Adamson in the game, trailing FEU by only three at the half, 35-32.
It was a different story, though, after the break as the San Marcelino side went into a scoring funk, scoring a total of just 22 points in the final two quarters, highlighting their woeful 33 percent shooting in the field.
In turn, Arvin Tolentino and Richard Escoto capitalized on the Falcons’ misfires as they upped their scoring in the third canto, tying the Falcons’ total scoring output in the quarter at 12.
Making matters worse for the Adamson faithful — and for the UP fans who stayed in the venue hoping for an FEU loss — Jerie Pingoy came down midway in the fourth as he sprained his left ankle following an attempt from long-range.
FEU ran away with a 71-54 win against the Falcons to punch the last remaining ticket to the playoffs, and coach Olsen Racela heaped praises to the Tamaraws.
“I have to hand it to the players. They never gave up, they never wavered sa kagustuhan nilang mag-Final Four,” the many-time former national team guard said after the game.
The third-seed Adamson faces a tall order against La Salle in the semifinals, and with their starting backcourt’s availability still questionable, Pumaren isn’t making any excuse ahead of their rematch against the reigning champs.
“That’s part and parcel of playing in a competition but never in my coaching career have I used injuries as an excuse. So we just have to make sure everybody will do their own role and everybody will be contributing one way or another,” Pumaren said.
Pumaren also recognized FEU’s will while also airing his frustrations on his boys’ performance against them though.
“Give credit to FEU. They really played well, and we really played bad.”