Though the Adamson Falcons won both encounters against the Growling Tigers last season, both games were close affairs. Round one saw a contrast of styles, as UST leaned on white-hot outside shooting to score 48 markers on 16 made triples, while the Falcons enjoyed a 25 to 9 advantage in turnover points. Ultimately, Adamson's pressure defense won out, giving them 75-71 win, with Lester Alvarez adding some shooting of his own, going 4/5 from beyond the arc. Round two saw UST match ADU's turnover points output, with both sides scoring 23, but Adamson had the benefit of muscle under the basket, getting 18 second chance points on just 13 offensive rebounds. With the UST shooting off its mark, the one-two punch of Janus Lozada and Alex Nuyles overpowered the smaller Tiger wing players.
Stat to Watch : UST found itself surprisingly out-rebounded by the tiny UE Red Warriors, getting eight less rebounds, seven less on the offensive end, and owning just two second chance points to their name. The Falcons have a pretty good group of big men, highlighted by Eric Camson, and their guards like Janus Lozada and Alex Nuyles are tall for their positions and can sky for rebounds. If UST doesn't get active on the glass, they find themselves trailing by a lot.
Player to Watch : Jeric Fortuna is one of the best (and one of the most underrated) at his position. His current averages are 17.5 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals, but not included there is his sense of the big moments, as Fortuna has bailed UST out of bad situations late in the game twice already. Going up against Lester Alvarez, who has been in a funk lately, Fortuna has the potential to dominate his position if he puts his mind to it defensively.
Stat to Watch : After a season in which the Tigers led the league by shooting triples at a 37.79% clip as a team, the Tigers are down to just 29.73% this season from beyond the arc. That said, the 3-ball is sitll one of their major weapons, especially down the stretch, courtesy of Jeric Fortuna. The Falcons will need to keep that percentage low and contest every triple, most especially late in the fourth.
Player to Watch : Alex Nuyles exploded for 22 points versus FEU, and no doubt, Coach Pido Jarencio took notice, and will sic Jeric Teng on him, after successfully locking down Bobby Ray Parks. Unlike Parks though, Nuyles' squad has a good deal of alternate scorers whom he can pass to while acting as a decoy. He can also use his superior leaping ability to pull down rebounds for put-backs or resets. So even if he doesn't score a lot of points, Nuyles still has the potential to contribute in other areas.
Prediction: Adamson Soaring Falcons