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Abadiano explosion vs Ateneo imminent, says UP coach Monteverde

MANILA, Philippines -- Gerry Abadiano's offensive onslaught against the Ateneo Blue Eagles Sunday was not a surprise, UP head coach Goldwin Monteverde said, as the guard unleashed his season-high against their Katipunan rivals.

Abadiano finished with 22 points, three rebounds and two assists in the Fighting Maroons' 65-60 win over Ateneo in their second round showdown, his highest scoring output so far in UAAP Season 86.

Prior to the Ateneo game, the former high school standout only had two points in a blowout win over the Adamson Soaring Falcons on Wednesday.

While the guard took a lesser role in college, Monteverde said it was only a matter of time before the scoring part of Abadiano’s game was unleashed.

“I guess, I think any high school player, when he goes to college, there is a level of adjustment. He struggled, yes, but whatever I see in him now, I am not surprised,” Monteverde told reporters in Filipino after their 65-60 win over Ateneo.

“Every day, I see him go to practice earlier than everyone. And, he was not discouraged [even if he is not scoring a lot anymore,” he added.

The coach said that the role adjustment was taken as a challenge by Abadiano.

“And, slowly, he is improving.”

Abadiano, for his part, said that they were just eager to get back at Ateneo, the team that gave the previously undefeated Fighting Maroons their first blemish in the season.

“We knew that in the first round, we lost against Ateneo and it hurt us. So we prepared a few days before this game,” Abadiano reiterated.

“We talked about this game, and the effort that we will give, that no matter what happens on the court, we are there. We are thankful that we got the victory,” he added.

UP had a tall order against their first round tormentors, as they had to play without stars JD Cagulangan and CJ Cansino.

Cagulangan is out with a hamstring injury, while Cansino had the flu.

Despite this, the team got the needed scoring output from Abadiano, Francis Lopez, Harold Alarcon and Malick Diouf.

Lopez, Alarcon and Diouf all finished with 10 points.

“As a coach, I am happy with what I saw. Aside from the win, I saw the challenge and I thought they overcame it,” Monteverde said.