Photo courtesy of GMA Network
MANILA — Far Eastern University-Diliman escaped with a cardiac, 77-76, win over Adamson to reclaim the UAAP high school boys basketball crown Friday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.
John Rey Pasaol starred for the Baby Tams by knocking in 21 important points, eight assists, four rebounds and four steals while VJ Pre also came away with a gem of a game with 16 points and seven rebounds.
Thus, the Baby Tamaraws completed a two-game sweep of the title series for their first crown since the 2016-17 season.
“Yung sinulat ko sa white board kanina, yung ‘effort is the key’. From jumpball pa lang, nakita ko sa kanila yung effort na gusto nilang kunin ang series na ito,” said FEU-Diliman coach Allan Albano.
The Baby Falcons, who reached the Finals for the first time since 2003, came closest to forging a Game 3 rubber-match had not Justine Garcia’s shotclock-beating bank shot was nullified after Albano won the coach’s challenge.
And to make things worse for Adamson, Earl Medina also bungled the potential game-winning triple in the dwindling seconds that would have sent the series to a deciding Game 3.
“Saludo rin ako sa Adamson. Hindi sila nag-give up until the final buzzer. Hindi basta-basta ibinigay ang series na ito,” said Albano.
Kirby Mongcopa, who had a 20-20 game in the series opener, was named the Finals MVP. He flirted with a triple-double of 13 rebounds, nine assists, and nine points to go along with five steals.
The Baby Tamaraws took a 77-76 advantage with 28.5 seconds remaining after Pasaol nailed four straight free throws and were able to regain possession after Garcia’s basket was canceled.
Garcia finished with 20 points, six rebounds and three assists while Carlo Bonzalida chipped in 15 points and nine boards for the Baby Falcons.
The scores: FEU-D (77) -- Pasaol 21, Pre 16, Miranda 10, Felipe 10, Mongcopa 9, Cabonilas 8, Daa 3, Salangsang 0, Pascual 0, Bautista 0, Herbito 0. AdU (76) -- Garcia 20, Bonzalida 15, Medina 12, Rosillo 10, Reyes 9, Edding 8, Abayon 2, Carillo 0, Sajili 0. Quarterscores: 23-24, 43-46, 61-60, 77-76