By Jean Malanum

FINALIST. Vince Reyes of Adamson University scores on a jumper during the game against the University of Santo Tomas in the UAAP Season 86 boys’ basketball tournament at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City on Wednesday (Jan. 31, 2024). The Baby Falcons won, 80-66, to reach the championship round. (UAAP photo)

MANILA – Adamson University advanced to the finals after demolishing the University of Santo Tomas, 80-66, in the UAAP Season 86 boys’ basketball tournament at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City on Wednesday.

Vince Reyes had 23 points, 11 rebounds, two steals, and two blocks as the Baby Falcons made it to the championship round for the second straight season.

“Talagang naniwala na lang kami sa mga sarili namin. Nagtulungan naman kami (We really just believed in ourselves. We worked together),” Reyes, a Grade 12 student, said.

Mark Esperanza contributed 12 points and eight assists while Justine Garcia made 11 points, six assists, and four steals.

Earl Medina also chipped in 11 points to go with three assists and three steals for Adamson, which took a 37-27 lead at halftime.

Adamson coach Mike Fermin noted how the players performed in the first half.

“Parang naulit yung game namin against NU, nanggigigil noong first half. Sabi ko, hindi naman natin kailangang talunin ng first half because it is a 40-minute game or extra (It’s like a repeat of our game against National University. They were too excited in the first half. I said, we don’t have to beat them in the first half because it is a 40-minute game or extra),” Fermin said.

“Constant reminders ko sa kanila, stay within the game plan. Noong second half, nagising naman sila kaya hats off again sa mga players (I constantly reminded them to stay within the game plan. In the second half, they woke up, so hats off to the players again).”

Adamson will play the winner between National University Nazareth School and Far Eastern University – Diliman.

Wacky Ludovice scored 19 points that included five triples while Andrei Dungo added 17 points, six rebounds, and three steals for the Manu Iñigo-mentored Growling Tiger Cubs, who finished fourth. (PNA)