A 5’11” dynamo from Iloilo is fast emerging not just as the top Most Valuable Player candidate at the end of the first round of the 79th University Athletic Association of the Philippines juniors’ basketball tournament, but also a future star of Philippine basketball.
Improvements in the 16-year-old Florencio Serrano’s game helped the Adamson Baby Falcons complete a first-round sweep of their seven-game assignment.
In the seven games he played, Serrano averaged 19.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists—outstanding numbers that allowed him to tally 73.42 statistical points.
SJ Belangel of Ateneo is second with 70.57 SPs, followed by Juan Gomez de Liano of the University of Philippines Integrated School (69.28). In fourth is John Clemente of National University (64.57), followed by Far Eastern University’s Kenji Roman(60.54) and Serrano’s teammate Gerry Abadiano (57.26).
“Mas gumanda at nag-improve ang points ko at mga rebounds after seven games,” said Serrano, a prized find from Iloilo.
In the Baby Falcons’ final game of the first round, Serrano played big with two-year veteran Abadiano in the first period. Their efforts led the Baby Falcons to a 130-47 smothering of University of the East, 130-47, at the Arena in San Juan.
The Baby Falcons, who are fearsome this season with their tall roster, went on to post the season’s biggest winning margin of 83-points--their seventh straight win.
Serrano had a double-double outing of 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Baby Falcons while teammate Jason Celis chipped in 20.
“Hard work paid off. Nu’ng nag-press ang team, maganda ang naging outcome,” said Adamson coach Goldwin Monteverde.
Jason Celis added 18 points for the Baby Falcons, who stayed ahead of the defending champion National University Bullpups.
The Baby Falcons got off to a hot start and took a 38-12 spread in the first period.
Abadiano’s drive, triple and two charities in the last 4:19 helped push Adamson to a 26-4 advantage.
They took a 20-point edge off Flores’ putback with 3:50 left.
But it was Serrano’s all-around game and brilliant offensive incursions that steered Adamson to its biggest win in the season.
“I scored my highest against UE. Nagiging maayos na ang training ko,” added Serrano, who a week later proved that his UAAP showing was no fluke.
With Serrano leading the charge, Adamson became the first UAAP team to win the Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championship crown by dethroning Chiang Kai Shek College, 96-85, behind another well-balanced attack at the SGS gym in Quezon City.
The Baby Falcons made a decisive run in the second frame before lowering the boom in the payoff period to dispatch the Blue Dragons and capture the 5th MEC Networks Cup dubbed as “Battle of Champions.”
The leading scorer in the UAAP after the first round, the cat-quick Serrano awed his defenders with a mixture of devastating jumpers to finish with 20 points aside from posting 8 rebounds, four assists and a block in just 25 minutes of action.
For producing another all-around performance, Serrano was named the Finals’ MVP aside from leading the Mythical Selection that included teammate Abadiano, La Salle Greenhills’ Troy Mallilin, Mapua’s Rom Junsay and Chiang Kai Shek’s Jonas Tibayan.
If Serrano continues to play this way, he could be headed for the same result in the UAAP.
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