One rebound away.
That was how close erstwhile unbeaten Adamson was to erasing a 17-point deficit and beating FEU in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
It wasn’t meant to be, however, as the Tamaraws held the Soaring Falcons without a field goal in overtime to escape with a hard-earned 88-85 victory, their fourth in six games.
Preying on Adamson’s lackadaisical defense in the middle quarters, FEU looked poised to make a statement and take down the streaking Falcons, even leading by 15 early in the final canto.
But the San Marcelino crew buckled down on defense in the fourth, forcing turnover after turnover and allowing Sean Manganti, Simon Camacho and Jerom Lastimosa to drill big shot after big shot.
Adamson took its first taste of the lead in crunch time off a basket by Manganti with 2:08 left, completing an 11-0 run.
Both squads traded baskets until Camacho forced overtime with a putback that tied it at 80-all with 1.8 seconds remaining in regulation.
With FEU scoring machine Arvin Tolentino out due to a disqualifying foul on Manganti and big man Prince Orizu in foul trouble, the Falcons were favored in overtime.
The team’s offense, however, was unable to settle down and Manganti, Camacho and Jerrick Ahanmisi took off-rhythm shots to the dismay of coach Franz Pumaren.
Ahanmisi led all scorers with 21 points and six rebounds while Manganti added 20 markers, six boards and four steals, but the duo combined to make only 14 of 42 shots.
Camacho and Papi Sarr, meanwhile, teamed up to produce 25 points and 25 rebounds.