Adamson University clings to a glimmer of hope to turn its fortunes around with just a game remaining in the elimination round of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 86 men’s basketball tournament.
Although the Falcons need to pray for a certain scenario to materialize to force a playoff for the last Final Four berth, head coach Nash Racela is keeping his fingers crossed that their campaign will go beyond Sunday’s end of elims playdate.
Adamson kept its head above water — albeit barely — in the No. 4 semis seed race following a 68-62 win over Final Four-bound National University last Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Last time, I talked about how proud I am with the players and with our team because despite the odds and the challenges in front of us the whole year,” Racela said.
“But here we are still alive and kicking.”
The Falcons have improved to a 6-7 win-loss record at fifth spot. The victory also pushed Adamson within striking distance of defending champion Ateneo de Manila University, which is currently perched at solo fourth spot.
Racela lauds his wards for showing defiance despite the overwhelming odds thrown against them including dealing with his controversial statements blasting the officiating in the Falcons’ tough loss to the Blue Eagles last Sunday.
The mentor escaped getting slapped with sanctions for his scathing statements after the league accepted his apology regarding his outburst.
“So, meaning, we are competing as a team and the players deserve credit. They’ve been doing their part that’s why the last time I talked, not really emotional, but I was coming from the heart because I want these kids to be happy for the hard work they put in,” Racela said.
“I’m happy because now, the work they put in, they’re getting rewarded. And that’s something that we always tell them that as long as you do your part, put in the work, learn from your mistakes, then you’ll get rewarded.”
The trio of Didat Hanapi, Matthew Montebon and Ced Manzano carried Adamson on their backs to live to fight another day.
“I think the reward is we’re still alive (in the semis race). So that was the goal coming into this game (against NU). We were not ready to receive the boot because they knew how important the game was today,” Racela said.
To forge a playoff, Adamson needs to do its part by winning its game against also-ran University of the East on Sunday.
But before that, the Falcons would have to pray to the high heavens for streaking De La Salle University to shoot down Ateneo on Saturday for a tie at 7-7 card.
Adamson also entered the Final Four last year through the back door — beating La Salle in the playoff for the No. 4 seed.