MANILA, Philippines – For the second consecutive season, the Adamson University Soaring Falcons are through to the UAAP Final Four.
In Season 79, they made it as the fourth seed, and bowed out immediately as they lost to eventual champion De La Salle University in just one game.
Fast forward to one season later, and the Soaring Falcons have clearly improved. They are at 9-4 with one game to go in their elimination round schedule, and have already secured the No. 3 seed in the Final Four of UAAP Season 80.
"We exceeded last year's performance," said Adamson coach Franz Pumaren. "Last year, we won eight games, and we're ahead by one game going to the last game of the eliminations. So you know, that's an improvement already."
Adamson locked up a Final Four spot by overpowering University of the Philippines, 86-70, on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum. According to Pumaren, they entered that game with their minds already set on the Final Four.
"Our mentality is (that we're in) Final Four mode already," he explained. "During this stretch, every game is important, and every game is a learning process for us, a learning experience for us."
"Of course, we are aiming for the best finish possible," Pumaren also said. "We all know that Ateneo is really playing well, they are oozing with confidence, and they are a veteran team. Same goes with La Salle."
"Both teams have already earned their championship poise."
Even as he acknowledges that both Ateneo de Manila University and La Salle have a leg up on them, Pumaren also made it clear that they want to improve upon last season's finish.
"Now, we're in third place," he said. "I think we'll all be hypocrites here if you're gonna say that we're contented with the third place."
Though a top two spot – and thus, a twice-to-beat bonus – is already out of reach for the Falcons, Pumaren assured that they will go all out in their final game of the elimination round against Far Eastern University on Saturday.
"We're still going to be in Final Four mode," he vowed. "We're trying to prepare ourselves for the next phase, which is the Final Four."
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