The Games that Play Us: The Doldrums

Lester Alvarez and the Falcons all but eliminated
the UP Fighting Maroons from the Final Four race.
(image by Marlo Cueto/NPPA Images)

AdU Saring Falcons over the UP Fighting Maroons, 64-51

Based on the standings and the way they’ve played lately, it’s crystal clear that the UP Fighting Maroons are the worst in the UAAP. They just haven’t been playing like the UP team that beat UE and FEU in the first round.

The things that helped them get those two wins, and helped their supporters entertain the dream of an improbable Final Four appearance, were great outside shooting and outstanding execution in transition. Right now, those two facets have completely abandoned the Maroons.

And even if they were able to stick with Adamson for about 3 quarters, it’s still quite apparent that it’s all but over for UP.

The Falcons almost doubled the Maroons’ rebound output, thanks to Austin Manyara, Alex Nuyles, and Janus Lozada combining for 31 boards, which was 3 more than UP’s total. UP also shot terribly AGAIN. Adamson outgunned their Diliman foes from the field (40% to 33%), and beyond the arc (24% to 15%).  

Alex Nuyles flies to the hole in the Falcons'
win over the skidding Maroons.
(image by Jerome Ascano/NPPA Images)
Coach Leo Austria’s boys also had 21 more attempts from the line! Wow where are the conspiracy theorists?! Again, this doesn’t mean the refs favored the Falcons. It’s just a credit to Adamson going strong to the basket and putting themselves in better positions to get hacked by the opposition. 

And though it took them longer than expected, the San Marcelino cagers were still able to stamp their class.

Manyara was better than his African counterpart, Alinko Mbah. Though both played exactly the same amount of minutes, and both had exactly 8 field goal attempts, Manyara proved to be more efficient. The starting slotman for Adamson shot 6-of-8 from the field on the way to 13 markers, complementing his 12 rebounds. Mbah, meanwhile, finished with a paltry 2 points and 5 caroms.

The Falcon wingmen thoroughly outplayed the Maroons, too. Lozada was red-hot, hitting three triples and finishing with 16 points on top of 9 rebounds. Nuyles was an all-around hard-hitter, netting just 9 points, but grabbing 10 boards and making 7 assists. It’s a no-brainer figuring out why they’re in solo second.

It’s a little puzzling, however, figuring out what’s making UP so bad. They have a new coach who has great credentials and who has seemingly added stability to the program. They have supposedly good shooters like Mike Silungan and Mike Gamboa. I say supposedly because they haven’t been up to snuff. Both players shot a combined 4-of-18 from the field and 0-of-11 from three. They also have an athletic 6’7” center in Mbah. As was mentioned before, though, he got his behind effectively handed to him by Austin Powers.

Austin "Powers" Manyara was the better African center
in the teams' second encounter.
(image by Marlo Cueto/NPPA Images)
Now that they’re lounging around in the doldrums, and they’re not going up anytime soon, the Dilimanians better figure out what’s wrong. They no longer have any chance of getting into the Final Four, but perhaps identifying those “needs improvement” aspects of their game can help them in the offseason. Who’ll they play against next? Their “arch-rivals” from nearby, the Ateneo Blue Eagles.

AdU 64 – Lozada 16, Manyara 13, Nuyles 9, Alvarez 9, Cabrera 4, Colina 4, Camson 4, Brondial 3, Cañada 2, Etrone 0, Monteclaro 0, Olalia 0, Rios 0, Agustin 0
UP 51 – Manuel 11, Romero 10, Silungan 8, Maniego 7, Montecastro 5, Gomez 4, Mbah 2, Juruena 2, Gingerich 2, Gamboa 0
QS: 13-9, 29-24, 45-35, 64-51

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