For most of UAAP Season 80 basketball, Adamson lived and died with their fantastic backcourt trio of Jerrick Ahanmisi, Jerie Pingoy and Rob Manalang.
But without Pingoy and Manalang this time around, coach Franz Pumaren tried a new formula in their PBA D-League debut season.
Akari-Adamson put on just enough grit and guts to edge out early favorites Marinerong Pilipino, 80-75, in their first D-League outing ever.
With time winding down, Marinerong Pilipino looked poised to send Akari-Adamson to a debut loss, leading the San Marcelino crew by a hair inside the final minute, but a steal by Jerrick Ahanmisi that led to a Simon Camacho fastbreak and-one was all it needed for Pumaren’s boys to seal the win.
“Well, siguro they underestimated us being a college team but basically, our strength is everybody’s young at heart, ready to prove something, to show that we can compete even with the big guys,” Pumaren said after the game.
With his sight trained already for the Season 81 UAAP battles, the incoming third year coach is keen to give his new recruits a taste of high-level action in the D-League.
“As you can see, I used all 14 guys, because 40 percent of my players are rookies so they need exposure, they need games like this.”
In their D-League baptism of fire, Akari-Adamson newcomers Jerome Lastimosa, Conrad Catapusan, and Egie Boy Mojica did not disappoint, combining for 24 of their team’s 80 point-output against a defense-oriented Marinerong Pilipino squad bannered by Alvin Pasaol, Abu Tratter, and G-Boy Babilonia.
“Well, they’re an interesting team this year, I personally recruited those guys, they’re here to gain exposure for the UAAP.”