UAAP: Racela laments Douanga's ill-timed injury in crucial Adamson game

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 30 2022 10:45 PM

Adamson center Lenda Douanga. UAAP Media.
Adamson center Lenda Douanga. UAAP Media.

MANILA, Philippines – An ill-timed injury to center Lenda Douanga dented Adamson University's chances of completing a comeback against the Ateneo Blue Eagles on Wednesday night.

This was the sentiment of Soaring Falcons coach Nash Racela, who lamented Douanga's absence from the floor during crunch time, when they had a chance to seize the lead from the Blue Eagles after trailing by as much as 15 points in the game.

Douanga had to exit with still over seven minutes left in the third quarter, having sprained his right ankle after landing on the foot of Ateneo center Ange Kouame. Even with him on the bench, the Falcons still mounted a comeback and got within one point late, 62-61, with under two minutes left.

But Kouame scored off a crucial offensive rebound with 35 seconds to go, and Ateneo went on to claim a 66-61 win that gave them the top seed in the UAAP Season 85 Final 4.

"If Lenda didn't step on the foot of Ange, and he was the one in that endgame possession, yung rebound, that offensive rebound ni Ange. If it were Lenda then … Nalunod na si Cedrick [Manzano] in that possession, that's why Ange got the offensive rebound, tapos nag-and-one," Racela said after the game.

Manzano wasn't quite able to provide the same resistance as Douanga, and Kouame grabbed the rebound off a missed shot by Dave Ildefonso and converted a layup to keep the Falcons at bay. 

Douanga wound up with 7 points on 3-of-13 shooting along with 6 rebounds in just under 19 minutes of playing time.

The loss dropped Adamson to 7-7 to close the elimination round. A win over the Blue Eagles would have secured them a Final 4 spot, but instead they will have to play De La Salle University on Sunday in a knockout game for the last semifinals spot.

Racela is now hoping that Douanga will be available for that all-important game.

"We're hoping it's not [a serious injury]," said the coach, as their center rested for the remainder of the game.

Though they fell short, Racela is also hopeful that they can carry some momentum into Sunday's game after nearly coming back from a 15-point deficit against the Blue Eagles.

"Ang importante is we gave ourselves a chance in the end," he stressed. "A team like Ateneo, we are aware na it's a team na hard to beat, but they're beatable. We just hope we get another chance in a couple of days."

If Adamson beats La Salle in the knockout game, they will arrange a Final 4 meeting against the Blue Eagles, with the cagers from Katipunan owning a twice-to-beat advantage.

UAAP Season 85 is streaming on iWantTFC every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, available for Premium users outside the Philippines.