The UP Fighting Maroons dropped their Season 79 opener, 104-85, to fellow cellar-dweller Adamson Soaring Falcons at the Araneta Coliseum, Sunday, Sept. 4.
Coming off a combined 6-22 record in the previous season, both teams were looking to prove themselves as worthy opponents this time around, running the floor early and trading baskets like it’s a Finals matchup. Adamson shot out of warmups with a 28-point first quarter while UP tallied 18.
Aside from depending on their versatile big-man Papi Sarr, Adamson unleashed its new weapon in the form of rookie Jerrick Ahanmisi, who was repeatedly left wide open en route to three triples before the end of the first half.
However, returning stalwarts Paul Desiderio and Jett Manuel were the usual sparks UP utilized to keep Adamson within reach, 46-38. Backup guard-turned starter Henry Asilum also stepped up early on for the Maroons.
Adamson opened the floodgates on the dazed Maroons at the start of the second half, pouring in three-pointers left and right from multiple players.
UP could only answer with close-range buckets, as their long-range jumpers were clanking off one after another. Turnovers on the part of the Maroons didn’t help their cause at all.
This became the recurring theme of the game as the Falcons completely broke free from the rallying Maroons.
The Diliman-based ballers made four- and six-point runs to scare the Ermita-based squad and send the fans in a frenzy. However, they didn’t play enough defense to stop the relentless shooting of Ahanmisi, floor general Robbie Manalang and reserve Lee Mustre.
UP’s slashing swingman Desiderio finished his inaugural season outing with a team-high 24 points on 10/22 shooting. Veteran guard Manuel chipped in 15 points on a 6/13 clip (3/4 from three). Moralde and Asilum contributed 12 and 11 markers, respectively.
Adamson’s Ahanmisi wrapped up his first-ever UAAP game with 28 points off an absurd 10/11 shooting (6/7 from three) – the highest point total of a rookie’s first game since UAAP stat-taker Imperium started tallying stats in 2003, according to Rappler Sports.
Double-double machine Sarr recorded 13 points and 11 rebounds in the Falcons’ victory.
Highly-sought head coach Bo Perasol commended his new team’s good game, but asserted that their good game was no match for Adamson’s version of a good game.
“I told my boys, we need to bring our excellent game to take away some of their game,” said Perasol. “Our best game against Adamson’s best game – for me that’s no contest, with what they showed. We cannot have a good game and just let the other team have one also.”
UP looks to repeat their last season’s upset win over the widely-favored powerhouse De La Salle University Green Archers on Saturday, Sept. 10 at the Araneta Coliseum.
AdU (104) – Ahanmisi – 28, Manalang – 16, Ochea – 13, Sarr – 13, Mustre – 9, Maganti – 8, Tungcab – 6, Pasturan – 6, Ng – 4, Paranada – 1, Camacho – 0.
UP (85) – Desiderio – 24, Manuel – 15, Moralde – 12, Asilum – 11, Vito – 7, Webb – 5, Harris – 5, Gomez De Liano – 2, Romero – 2, Lao – 2, Dario – 0, Lim – 0, Prado – 0, Jaboneta – 0, Longa – 0.
Quarterscores: 28-18, 46-38, 73-57, 104-85