Adamson head coach Kenneth Duremdes. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – Adamson head coach Kenneth Duremdes could only marvel at Far Eastern University's (FEU) 28-point fourth quarter, which slammed the door on his Soaring Falcons' hopes of pulling off an amazing upset.
"Best opportunity na nasayang," Duremdes told ABS-CBNnews.com after FEU beat Adamson, 90-73, in a game that was closer than the final score indicated.
The Falcons surprised the Tamaraws in the first quarter when they raced to an early 15-3 lead. FEU recovered and was down by only four points, 40-44, at halftime, then took the lead for good at the end of the third quarter, 62-60.
Adamson, after being within striking distance at the start of the final frame, wilted in the face of FEU's hot shooting in the fourth period and was outscored 28-13 in the quarter.
"Before, sa first round and the first few games of the second round, we were playing only in the first half. Right now, umabot na ng third quarter," said Duremdes.
"But I was surprised that they scored a lot, 28 points in the fourth quarter, and most of them coming from the three-point area. They shot 40% (from beyond the arc)," he added.
"And those were dagger points. We played good defense, and they still hit those three-point banked shots."
FEU made only three of their eight three-pointers in the final quarter, but one was especially demoralizing for the Falcons. They played good defense for 23 seconds and nearly got a steal, but FEU's Roger Pogoy came away with the loose ball and hit a triple to beat the shot-clock buzzer.
"The players, you know, they felt na maganda 'yung defense nila, and yet, FEU made a three-point shot, just like that," Duremdes lamented. "Parang nanghina sila… We were playing good defense and until the last second, mashu-shoot nila."
"That 28 points in the fourth quarter, parang hindi pa rin namin alam kung saan nanggaling," he added.
Duremdes could only commend FEU for their hot shooting.
"Their shooting tonight was very, very awesome, very good," he said. "For us, wala ka ng magagawa doon, because they keep on falling in."
Duremdes also said he was not surprised about how well his players performed in the first half, up until the final seconds of the third quarter.
"I knew it was coming because we know that we're improving," he said, but noted that they simply lacked the finishing kick needed to end a game on a strong note.
"It's just the fourth quarter, 'yung finishing for us, kasi masyado ng sunog si (Jansen) Rios at (Don) Trollano," Duremdes said, referring to the two veterans that have carried the Falcons all season long.
"They are putting all their energy. Trollano and Rios are putting everything, their desire to win, their hearts, but then again, at the end, napapagod din sila," he added.
Duremdes and the Falcons still have two chances to avoid a winless season when they play the Ateneo Blue Eagles and the UP Fighting Maroons in their last two games of the tournament.