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Falcons rally behind Jerom,soar past Tams

MANILA, Philippines — Sans injury-hit ace guard Jerom Lastimosa (anterior cruciate ligament tear), Adamson braved on and pulled off a 63-54 win over Far Eastern U in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament yesterday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Using Lastimosa’s fall as a rallying point, the Falcons snapped a three-game slide and got back into the thick of things with a 4-5 win-loss card

Joshua Yerro and Joem Sabandal rose to the occasion with 11 and 10 points, respectively, as they took the cudgels with Lastimosa declared out for the rest of the season just after a return from a previous injury.

Jhon Arthur Calisay chipped in nine points while Didat Hanapi, Matthew Montebon and Matt Erolon produced five each for the high-spirited Falcons.

“We’ve been in this situation the whole year, actually. That’s why medyo up and down. Puro hanap, kaliwa, hanap sa kanan but I’m sure our players are up to the challenge, naman especially now,” said Adamson coach Nash Racela.

In the nightcap, UP took revenge against Katipunan rival and reigning champion Ateneo with a 65-60 win behind Gerry Abadiano’s 22-point eruption to keep hold of the No. 1 spot with an 8-1 record.

Francis Lopez (10), Harold Alarcon (10) and reigning MVP Malick Diouf (10) added support as the Maroons, albeit without captain CJ Cansino (flu) and JD Cagulangan (quad injury) avenged their 99-89 loss in the first round.

“It took a while until we got the rhythm offensively but maganda rito, ‘yung defense namin held up against Ateneo. We’re also more patient offensively in the end game. At least, nakabalik kami,” said coach Goldwin Monteverde.

Jared Brown (18) led the Eagles, who tripped to an uncharted territory at No. 4 for a tie with first-game winner Adamson with similar 4-5 slates.