UAAP: No excuses for La Salle, Adamson in knockout game

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 04 2022 09:00 AM

La Salle and Adamson are contesting the last spot in the UAAP Season 85 Final 4. UAAP Media
La Salle and Adamson are contesting the last spot in the UAAP Season 85 Final 4. UAAP Media

MANILA, Philippines -- Neither team will be 100 percent healthy but Adamson and De La Salle University are offering no excuses ahead of their knockout game Sunday for the last Final 4 spot in UAAP Season 85. 

The Soaring Falcons and the Green Archers ended their elimination round campaign with identical 7-7 win-loss records, setting up a do-or-die game for the last semifinal spot. 

Already through to the Final 4 are No. 1 Ateneo (11-3), No. 2 University of the Philippines (11-3), and No. 3 National University (9-5). The winner of the La Salle-Adamson showdown will play the Blue Eagles in the Final 4 that starts on Dec. 7.

Both teams are dealing with personnel issues. Adamson's star point guard, Jerom Lastimosa, is playing through a foot injury, while veteran center Lenda Douanga exited in the third quarter of their game against Ateneo last Wednesday with an ankle sprain.

Adamson coach Nash Racela is hopeful that Douanga's injury is not serious. He also wants to see more from the likes of AP Manlapaz and Vince Magbuhos, who are working their way back to full fitness after dealing with injuries.

"Ang focus lang naman is really to just control things we can control. That has been the message ever since," Racela said of the mindset of his team ahead of their playoff against La Salle. "We just have to rest, focus again, study, and then just prepare for La Salle."

The Green Archers, for their part, are hoping to have a full cast of players for Sunday's game. Derick Pumaren's squad has been bitten by the injury bug in Season 85, with top stars Schonny Winston and Michael Phillips missing significant time. Against University of Santo Tomas on Wednesday, they were without rookie forward Kevin Quiambao (illness) along with Phillips. Winston made a three-second cameo in the contest.

Pumaren is optimistic that both Quiambao and Phillips will be available for Sunday's do-or-die game, along with Winston.

"We're hoping, given the chance to play in a knockout game, we’re really banking on preparing him [Winston] to be back in the knockout game," said Pumaren.

"Hopefully [Michael's] test will have good results. It was done today (Saturday). Kevin, hopefully, gumaling na rin. But he practiced yesterday si Kevin, he played well, but nagkasakit," he also said. 

Adamson and La Salle split their elimination round meetings: the Soaring Falcons won in the first round, 86-84, in a game where Winston also suffered a calf injury. The Green Archers got back at Adamson in Round 2, 81-78, behind a buzzer-beating three-pointer from CJ Austria.

Tip-off for the knockout contest is at 6 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena.