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Falcons moving on after loss

MANILA, Philippines — Their frustration from the missed opportunity in a Final Four game against La Salle where they felt they got the raw end of the deal in the calls aside, the Adamson Falcons are taking positives from this episode moving forward.

“We just have to hold our heads up, learn from this and let us not put ourselves into this kind of situation again,” said AdU coach Franz Pumaren after his team bowed out with a 75-82 setback to the defending champion Archers Saturday night.

The Falcons are losing three mainstays from this batch – Rob Manalang, Dawn Ochea and Terrence Mustre – but will welcome into the fold Pumaren’s own recruits, six of them from Cebu, Dumaguete, La Salle Dasmariñas and Baguio. The core group led by Papi Sarr, Jerrick Ahanmisi, Jerie Pingoy, Jonathan Espeleta, Tyrus Hill and Kurt Lojera will be back for one more shot at glory.

“I’ve got interesting pieces for next year,” said Pumaren, who had steered the rebuilding Falcons to back-to-back semis appearances in his first two years. “A year of seasoning this year will benefit us because I have a very young team…by next year, I think we’ll be a force to reckon with, considering the two years playoff experience really helped us.”

The Falcons pushed the favored Archers to the limit, seizing a 15-point spread despite foul woes to Sarr. But the Archers asserted themselves at the start of the fourth to reverse the tide and pull through with the seven-point victory that ended AdU’s campaign.

Pumaren rued what he dubbed as “worst officiated game,” slamming the discrepancy in free throw shooting and the referees’ decision to hand the ball to La Salle despite the deflection on Pingoy’s three-point attempt that went out of bounds.

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“I don’t think I was out-coached, I don’t think we were out-played. It’s all disappointing but anyway, inspite of that we could have still beaten them. It’s a learning experience for us. Two years of experience playing in the Final Four, it will just benefit us in the long run, make us tougher,” he said.             

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