#UAAP77Jrs February 3-6, 2015 Roundup: Baby Falcons get the boot after back-to-back losses.

After a dominant run in the second round of UAAP Season 77’s Juniors Division, the Adamson Baby Falcons received back-to-back decisive losses and, consequently, got eliminated from the Final Four.

Fred Tungcab has been aweseome this season, but he failed to lead Adamson deeper in the Final Four.

Earlier this week, Adamson squared off against the defending champion NU Bullpups in a playoff for the second seed. Adamson was supposed to be the better team here, especially after they were the second-best team in the second round (they won every game and lost just once - to Ateneo) and after beating NU, 74-64, in their second meeting of the season. 

Things, however, didn’t turn out well for coach Goldwyn Monteverde and his Baby Falcons. Star forward Fred Tungcab, who has been tearing up the league this season, coughed up ten misses out of eleven field goal attempts en route to just 6 points. In fourteen elims games, the unheralded combo big man averaged 12.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 steals a game, while shooting 43% from the floor. The Sta. Rosa, Laguna native, who was a Mythical Team member of the 2013 Coca-Cola-PBA Youngstars National Championship and is part of this season’s Mythical Five, was stifled by NU’s aggressive play. He and his teammates seemed flustered at the prospect of playing in the Final Four, and they were noticeably tentative. 
Jordan Sta. Ana remains a vital cog for the NU Bullups' repeat hopes.

Mark Dyke goes up strong against the Adamson frontline early this past week.

Philip Manalang stepped up big time for the Bullpups as they trounced the Baby Falcons.

The Bullpups were quick to exploit the Baby Falcons’ inexperience, leading by 10 at the end of the first ten minutes and erecting an advantage as high as 32 points. Batang Gilas bulwark Mark Dyke rebounded fro ma poor performance against Ateneo in their previous game, putting up 23 points and 26 rebounds on 9/13 FG shooting against Adamson. He was backstopped by heady playmaker Philip Manalang, who racked up 15 markers and 11 boards, while reliable wingmen Jordan Sta. Ana and John Clemente tallied a combined 25 points. Needless to say, what a lot of Juniors fans expected to be a grind-it-out affair turned out to be a rout, 72-45.

This meant that coach Goldwyn’s wards had to go through the gauntlet for a crack at the Blue Eaglets, who were already sitting pretty with a thrice-to-beat edge in the Finals. Adamson had to beat De La Salle-Zobel in a KO game three days after to stay alive and face NU once again.

The Baby Falcons should have had a mental edge heading into this game, especially since they were 2-0 against the Junior Archers in the elims, beating the Alabang-based basketeers by an average of 13 points. Just like the game against the Bullpups, though, it seemed like the San Marcelino-based cagers’ nerves got the better of them once again. 

Adamson started slow against DLSZ, falling behind by 10 after the first canto and by as many as 20 points late in the third stanza. The Baby Falcons woke up in the final frame, outscoring Zobel, 34-21, but their desperate rally came up short. The final buzzer signalling the end of Adamson’s season sounded with the score reading, 87-81. Coach Boris Aldeguer’s wards improbably moved on to face NU, while coach Monteverde’s boys were off to their early summer vacation.

This time, Tungcab had a better line, dropping 20 points, hauling down 17 rebounds, and handing out 7 assists. He also had great support from James Pasturan and Dave Cabanilla, who scored 17 and 10 markers respectively. Cabanilla added 11 rebounds and 3 steals in a sterling, but losing, effort.

On the other end, DLSZ was paced by Aljun Melecio and Quinito Banzon, who dropped 21 and 20 points respectively. Both guys also combined to hit 6 treys as the Junior Archers nailed 41% of their long toms. Noah Webb also did superbly, racking up 9 markers and 10 boards. 

It was a sorry result for coach Monteverde, who led his other high school team, the Chiang Kai Shek Blue Dragons, to the 2015 Metro Manila Basketball League championship. Most of his players are set to come back next season, though, so the future remains bright for Adamson.

Continue checking out the remaining #UAAP77Jrs games this season. The Final Four game between NU and De La Salle-Zobel is on Monday, February 9, at the Blue Eagle Gym. If NU wins, the Finals begin on Friday, February 13, at the San Juan Arena, but if the Junior Archers force a rubber match, it’ll be on the same date, but at the Blue Eagle Gym once again.

Aljun Melecio silences the crowd after hitting a big shot in the fourth quarter.

Fred Tungcab had a great game against DLSZ after struggling against NU.

Quinito Banzon has blossomed into a very reliable scorer for the Juniors Archers.

All images are from University Basketball League.
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