By Marisse Gabrielle Panaligan

Fighting Maroon captain, Woody Co, shoots a three-point basket over Soaring Falcon Eric Camson to help his team catch up with Adamson's seven-point lead down the two-minute mark of the fourth quarter on Saturday at the PhilSports Arena. (Christine Anne Penalosa)

The Fighting Maroons’ spark ran out too soon.

Adamson Soaring Falcons’ sudden comeback in the fourth quarter destroyed the UP Fighting Maroons’ bid for their first win, 66-59, in the first round of the UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City Saturday.

Eric Camson, Jerick Cañada, and Alexander Nuyles proved worthy bench picks for Falcon’s Coach Leo Austria, each having a double-digit output; sinking in 16, 14, and 10 markers respectively.

“Binalewala namin ‘yung game laban sa Ateneo. Inisip namin back to zero,” said Camson.

Adamson lost to Ateneo Thursday on the same court, 66-69, after bad calls of the referees who were immediately suspended by the UAAP Commissioner for Basketball Ato Badolato.

Woody Co once again led the Maroons, finishing with 17 points courtesy of one three-point shot, three field goals, and eight free throws. He also registered eight rebounds, four steals, two blocks, and two assists.

“We missed seven free throws in the second half; we need to get better quality shots. But we’re going to (sic) the right direction,” said UP Coach Aboy Castro.

It had been a slow start for both teams, with the first quarter closing at 13-8 in favor of the Falcons. But the Maroons slowly picked up the pace towards the second half, with Co converting an interception to an easy basket beginning the shootout.

The Fighting Maroons play a man-to-man defense against the Soaring Falcons to force 14 turnovers during their first meeting of the season Saturday at PhilSports Arena. (Christine Anne Penalosa)

3rd quarter tie

Martin Reyes fired two consecutive shots behind the three-point arc, and Michael Silungan repeated the feat to tie the game at 44-44 by the end of the third quarter.

Small forward Mark Lopez regroups the Fighting Maroons at the dying minutes of the final quarter in their game against the Soaring Falcons on Saturday at PhilSports Arena. UP lost to Adamson, 59-66.

Co and Mark Lopez gaveUP the lead early in the fourth, only to be regained shortly by Adamson’s 17-7 run, with Camson and Cañada doing the damage for the Falcons.

The Maroons tried to catch up, but the Falcons scored at will until the last second.

Reyes and Silungan finished with 15 and 10 points, joining Co in the scoring picture and neutralizing the Falcons’, but got less support from the rest of the team.

Smart Gilas aspirant Magi Sison scored a basket for the Maroons early in the first quarter, but was silent after that and never scored again.

Alvin Padilla, Martin Pascual and Francis Maniego also contributed 10 points combined for the Maroons, while Mark Juruena penetrated defensively with seven rebounds.

In contrast, all 10 Falcons fielded scored for Adamson.

UP will collide with the UST Growling Tigers on Thursday, July 22 at the Araneta Coliseum. #

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