by Ardelle Costuna
The University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons failed to maintain its composure in the second half of its eleventh game of the season, leaving the Adamson University Soaring Falcons victorious in a 64-51 win at the 74th UAAP basketball competitions Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Forward Janus Lozada pitched in 16 points and nine rebounds, while center Lionel Manyara, who suffered a knee injury during the last two minutes of the game, dropped 13 markers and 12 boards to lead the Falcons to its eight victory of the season.
Meanwhile, guard Jett Manuel sealed in 11 points while forward Paolo Romero scored 10 points for the Maroons, which lost its sixth straight game of the season. Team captain Mike Silungan also pegged in eight points but missed all nine attempts from the three-point mark.
“I’m proud of the effort that the guys put out there,” UP coach Ricky Dandan said. “However, it was not enough.”
The Falcons enjoyed an early lead in the first quarter, 13-9, but the Maroons got their game going, thanks to Silungan’s two-point blast to turn the tables around and get UP’s first taste of the lead, 17-18, during the 6:09 mark of the second period.
The Maroons once again notched the lead during the third quarter, 29-30, courtesy of a jumper by Miggy Maniego. But that was the last time UP stayed ahead, as the Falcons trio of Lester Alvarez, Lozada and Manyara outplayed the Maroons on both ends of the court throughout the second half.
The victory tightened the Falcons’ hold of the second spot in the final four behind the immaculate 11-0 record of the defending champions Ateneo Blue Eagles. The Maroons, meanwhile, is once again out of contention for a final four spot, winning only two of its eleven games so far in the tournament.
Despite the loss, Dandan said the Maroons would still try to get as many wins as they could in their remaining games.
“We still have three games left. What we care for is how we play, and we will continue to seek for that elusive third and fourth win,” Dandan said. “If we can just exert or exceed the same effort, and lessen our lapses on offense and defense, I think we can get the wins we have been waiting for.”