MANILA, Philippines — Jerom Lastimosa played sparingly in a surprise return from a dislocated right foot Adamson prevented a fourth-quarter collapse to beat University of the East, 74-64, and stay in Final Four hunt in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Lastimosa, who told reporters last week that he’s unlikely to return for the remainder of the season, was fielded in with 30.4 seconds left in the second quarter as the Falcons entered the halftime break with a 42-23 spread.
The veteran guard capped his 32-second cameo with two free throws that sealed their win to improve to 5-6 in the fourth place, bouncing back from a heartbreaking loss to La Salle last Thursday.
“Jerom Lastimosa is not out for the season. That’s all I can say,” said Adamson coach Nash Racela, contrary to what his player said last week. “Regardless of the time he was in, I think it’s a statement that he is available this season. Because I read that he won’t be available. I think that’s the message, regardless of whether it’s 30, or 10 seconds. We all look forward to him playing longer.”
“He’s getting better. If there’s something that you should write, it’s that Jerom is getting better,” he added.
Lastimosa was grateful for Racela’s trust as he continues to recover from his injury.
“I’m blessed because coach still used me even though I’m not yet 100% recovered. I’m so happy because coach trusted me to play even for just (30) seconds,” he said.
The Falcons flirted with disaster in the fourth period as it blew a 22-point 63-41 lead with CJ Payawal igniting a 14-2 run for the Red Warriors capped by Nikko Paranada’s triple to cut down the deficit to 10, 65-55.
Joem Sabandal drilled a triple to stop the bleeding for Adamson followed by Lenda Douanga’s free throws for a 70-58 spread to keep UE at bay and boost their Final Four chances.
Didat Hanapi led the way for Adamson with 13 points from three triples to go with four rebounds and three assists. Douanga also scored 13 and grabbed seven boards, Cedrick Manzano posted a double-double of 11 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocks, and Sabandal added 10 points and five boards.
UE suffered its third straight loss, sliding to 4-8 tied with Far Eastern University.
Luis Villegas lifted the Red Warriors with 20 points and six assists, as Gani Stevens and Kyle Paranada added 14 points each in another defeat.
ADAMSON 74 — Hanapi 13, Douanga 13, Manzano 11, Sabandal 10, Flowers 7, Torres 6, Colonia 4, Yerro 3, Manlapaz 3, Barcelona 2, Lastimosa 2, Jaymalin 0, Barasi 0, Fuentebella 0, W. Magbuhos 0.
UE 64 — Villegas 20, Stevens 14, K. Paranada 14, N. Paranada 8, Payawal 6, Sawat 2, Pagsanjan 0, Tulabut 0, Remogat 0, Antiporda 0, Guevarra 0, Gilbuena 0, Lingo-Lingo 0.
Quarters: 15-16, 42-23, 56-41, 74-64.
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