MANILA, Philippines – University of the Philippines (UP) head coach Bo Perasol pointed to a massive free throw discrepancy as one of the key reasons for their loss to Adamson University on Sunday at the Big Dome.
In a game that had major implications in the Final Four race of UAAP Season 80, the Soaring Falcons simply overpowered the Fighting Maroons, 86-70, to lock up the third seed in the semifinals. UP, meanwhile, saw its Final Four hopes take a hit.
"I was telling the guys that the way we played, hindi naman pam-playoffs 'yun eh," Perasol said. "The effort was there, and I was happy about the effort of playing, but the details, the quality of it wasn't there."
"We got (out)played by Papi Sarr," he added.
Indeed, the Adamson center overwhelmed the UP frontline for 25 points on nine-of-14 shooting while also grabbing 17 rebounds in the game.
For Perasol, however, the most notable statistic was the amount of free throws that the Soaring Falcons took in the game. UP was whistled for 25 fouls – much to the dismay of their crowd – and Adamson was awarded with 28 free throws off, of which they made 25.
In contrast, UP went to the line only 10 times, and made two of their charities.
"There is just a big disparity as far as the free throws are concerned – 28 given to them, and 10 to us," Perasol pointed out. "I was looking for a reason why, what numbers are they ahead of. In terms of points in the paint, perimeter and all that, wala ako makita."
"And then, all of a sudden, I saw that they attempted 28 free throws (against) our 10," he added.
Perasol – and the UP fans – had reason to be frustrated about the amount of free throws that Adamson took. Entering Sunday's game, the Fighting Maroons only gave up 13.1 free throws per game, the third best mark in the league behind defending champion De La Salle University and unbeaten Ateneo de Manila University.
Against the Falcons, however, they simply could not defend without fouling, especially when it came to the post. Sarr, by his lonesome, shot nine free throws and made seven.
"It may say a lot about how bad we defended, because I think, andami naming fouls," Perasol admitted. "But that's just a lot of disparity. Ang laki eh."
At the end of the day, however, Perasol acknowledged that they can do nothing but soldier on despite questionable calls.
"Wala namang ibang way to deal with it," said the coach. "Kung itatawag nila, itatawag nila 'yan. Ano bang meron kaming tsansa, kung makikipag-away kami diyan? Wala eh."
"Wala namang nagbago (na call) sa tagal natin sa basketball," he added.
The loss to Adamson dropped UP to 5-7, and the Fighting Maroons are in a must-win situation heading into their final two games of the season against Ateneo and National University.
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