UAAP: With better preparation, Adamson eyes Final 4 breakthrough

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 26 2022 12:15 PM | Updated as of Sep 26 2022 02:05 PM

Adamson point guard Jerom Lastimosa in action during UAAP Season 84. UAAP Media.
Adamson point guard Jerom Lastimosa in action during UAAP Season 84. UAAP Media.

MANILA, Philippines -- After falling just short of a Final 4 spot in UAAP Season 84, Adamson University enters the new season armed with more experience and better preparation. 

The Falcons recovered from a slow start in Season 84 and got their bearings in the second round, where they went 5-2 to make a late charge for a semifinal spot. However, their 6-8 record put them one game behind Far Eastern University for the last seat in the Final 4. 

Nonetheless, it was already a commendable performance from Adamson, which entered the season with modest expectations. 

This won't be the case in Season 85, however, with the Falcons already well-accustomed to the system of head coach Nash Racela and with a full preseason under their belts.

"We were disappointed, sad, because we fell short," Racela told Nikko Ramos on the "Call to Arms" podcast about their Season 84 campaign.

"Lapit na eh, one more step, one more very short step and we could have been in the Final 4," he added. "Sayang, because I think it was only in the second half of the season that we started believing in ourselves."

"Mahirap… when you go to battle having doubts doon sa kakayahan mo. But nakakatuwa because in the second round, we saw that we could compete with any other team in the UAAP. I think that was the start of the change."

Looking to build on their second-round charge, Adamson embarked on a busy preseason schedule that saw them compete not just in the FilOil and UCBL tournaments, but even in provincial tilts in Davao and Surigao.

Their campaign in the Kadayawan Cup in Davao City was particularly impressive: playing against teams featuring former professional players, the Falcons swept the tournament and defeated the host city in the final to clinch the crown.

"All of those experiences, playing the toughest teams just makes you tougher as a team," said Racela. "We're hoping that having that experience against UP in preseason, we're able to play Ateneo, FEU in some preseason tournaments and tune-up games, we just hope that those experiences will toughen us up para mas ready kami for Season 85."

Adamson head coach Nash Racela. UAAP Media.
Adamson head coach Nash Racela. UAAP Media.

Racela, who took over as Adamson head coach in January, believes that they have played at least 20 games in the preseason, compared to just a couple ahead of Season 84.

Thus, while his roster may be virtually the same, and their playing style won't drastically change, the Falcons are better prepared this time. Racela is hopeful that this will be enough for them to barge into the upper half of the league standings in Season 85.

Adamson last made the Final 4 in Season 81, when they were seeded second but suffered an upset against University of the Philippines (UP) in the step-ladder Final 4.

Racela believes that three teams -- defending champion UP, Ateneo de Manila University, and De La Salle University -- are all but certain to make the Final 4, leaving just one spot for the rest of the field to fight over.

"We're hoping that that small window, mapagsikapan namin, so that we could barge into that Final 4," he said.

Set to star for Adamson once again in Season 85 is veteran point guard Jerom Lastimosa, who will be supported by the likes of Cedrick Manzano, Joem Sabandal, Joshua Yerro, and Didat Hanapi. 

The Falcons open their Season 85 campaign on Saturday, October 1, against the University of Santo Tomas.

Catch replays of UAAP Season 84 games via the UAAP Varsity channel on iWantTFC, available for Premium users outside the Philippines.


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