MANILA, Philippines -- Adamson University suffered its fourth consecutive defeat in the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball tournament on Wednesday, but head coach Franz Pumaren is convinced that they can still make it to the Final 4.
A gutsy effort from the Soaring Falcons was not enough against the Ateneo de Manila University, as the defending champions did enough to claim an 80-74 triumph that kept them unbeaten in the tournament. Adamson, meanwhile, dropped to 3-6 in the season.
As it stands, they are tied for sixth and seventh places in the league standings -- but still just one and a half games behind De La Salle University for the fourth spot.
"I was telling them, we don't have to panic," said Pumaren, who had to undergo emergency surgery for kidney stones on Tuesday but still showed up to Wednesday's game.
"Probably it's my fault din, because for the last 3 years, we've been winning, so parang nasanay sila sa winning. But this is just probably a hump that we're going through," he added.
For Pumaren, the close nature of the Final 4 race will work to their advantage. Ateneo remains firmly perched at the top and is already assured of at least a playoff for a semis spot, but the other three Final 4 seats are up for grabs.
Pumaren is confident that his team will be one of the teams to make it there in the end.
"The way look at it, I think we still have, we're still gonna make it to the Final 4. Maybe the hard way, because it's a learning thing for us eh, it's just like a progress," he said.
"I'm confident we're still gonna make the Final 4," he stressed.
To do so, Adamson will need to stop their skid, and they have a chance to do so on Saturday when they take on National University. The Bulldogs are only 2-7 this season, but they are coming off a morale-boosting win over Far Eastern University.
"If you look at the scenarios right now in the UAAP, almost all of the teams except for Ateneo, they're up to par with each other," said Pumaren.
"I'm looking at the situation. I think a 7-7 will put you in a tie for the fourth place; 8-6 probably will give you enough space to make it to the No. 4 and No. 3."
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