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Falcons kept potential playoff vs Blue Eagles out of mind during crucial UE clash, says Nash

MANILA, Philippines – The Adamson Soaring Falcons weren’t about to be caught looking past the gritty UE Red Warriors as they are now poised to face off against the Ateneo Blue Eagles for the final semi finals spot in UAAP Season 86 this Wednesday.

Even as a win by the DLSU Green Archers on Saturday night left the door wide open for Adamson to sneak their way into a playoff for No. 4, the Falcons refused to even think about the possibility before their battle with the Red Warriors even tipped off.

UE presented themselves a worthy opponent as the also-ran team kept Adamson on their toes until the final buzzer, before Monty Montebon's late heroics saved the day.

“Well, we’re not yet thinking about Ateneo, yun nga eh, that’s something that we made sure [of],” said Adamson head coach Nash Racela after the game. 

“That, going into today’s ball game, we just think about UE because imagine if we lost that, if he missed the shot, then we wouldn’t even be talking about Ateneo,” he added.

Jack Cruz-Dumont almost ended Adamson’s season right then and there when he hit a three-pointer to put the Red Warriors ahead by one point with 6.4 ticks left in the game.

But with Montebon’s own made shot saved the Soaring Falcons from elimination. Now with the two conditions met to officially face Ateneo for the last slot in the Final Four, Racela now has the right to think about the Blue Eagles.

“Kaya kami, all our focus was on UE and how to beat them. Now that we did, we can move forward to Ateneo. We’ll start thinking about it,” he said.

Last season, the Falcons were in a similar situation, where they beat the DLSU Green Archers in the knockout game to clinch the last semis seat.

Now with a different set of players, Racela hopes to be able to take their experience from last year to this time against the Blue Eagles.

“We’re here and that’s all we want. Right? Get a crack at that Final Four,” said Racela.

Adamson and Ateneo face off for the No. 4 slot in the semifinals on Wednesday, November 22, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.