After struggling to find their footing in the first round, a fresh start is exactly what the Adamson Soaring Falcons need to rejuvenate their Season 82 campaign.
Adamson will look to get back on track as they open their second-round campaign against seventh-place UE Red Warriors this Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena. This will be their first game back after dropping three of their last four games to end the first round, including back-to-back losses against the DLSU Green Archers and the FEU Tamaraws.
Coach Franz Pumaren’s team hopes that their offense will finally click late in the elimination phase. Their shooting took a slight dip in the first round this season (36.03%) compared to their last year’s average (39.1%).
Despite Jerrick Ahanmisi’s relatively slow start from beyond the arc (30.91%), the Season 81 Mythical Five member is anticipated to heat up and get close to the 41.7% clip he had at the three-point area last season.
Ahanmisi, together with Val Chauca and Lenda Dounga, is expected to lead the way for the Soaring Falcon. These three players all averaged double-digits in scoring after the first round, accounting for 42 out of the 74 points Adamson produced per game in its first seven outings. Also expected to chip in are Jerom Lastimosa, AP Manlapaz, and Simon Camacho, who showed flashes of brilliance on the offensive end in the first round.
The Falcons will rely on their defense to end the losing skid. So far, the Soaring Falcons are successful in forcing their opponents to take more three-point shots. Almost a third of the opposing teams’ shots came from beyond the arc, which only resulted to a 22.5% conversion rate. In fact, Adamson is the best in the league in terms of opponent’s three-point shooting percentage and perimeter points allowed (25.14).
This defense will be tested against the Red Warriors’ one-and-done star Rey Suerte. The former UV Green Lancer and CESAFI MVP currently ranks third among the top scorers in the UAAP this season, posting an average of 17.43 points per game.
Alex Diakhite is also expected to challenge the Falcons’ resistance in the paint. The Senegalese big man will go toe-to-toe with Adamson’s Dounga in what could be a colossal clash underneath the basket. Both foreign student-athletes are currently included in the top five rebounders, as well as the top 10 blockers in the UAAP.
A win could separate the Soaring Falcons from the three-way tie at the fourth place with DLSU and FEU.