If there was a game that summed up the AdU Soaring Falcons’ UAAP Season 86 campaign, it may very well have been the Soaring Falcons’ playoff for the last Final Four spot against the ADMU Blue Eagles.

Through everything AdU went through both on and off the court, they still managed to have a chance to make their second consecutive trip to the postseason.

Losing Jerom Lastimosa for the season, was a major blow to the Soaring Falcons, but they managed to rack up wins over the Blue Eagles and the NU Bulldogs. They cried foul (pun intended) on what for them felt like being on the wrong end of calls during crucial games, with their head coach Nash Racela being able to avoid any punishment even with his “apology”, which admittedly was the kind of petty we love having in sports.

Unfortunately, what was supposed to be a banger of an ending for AdU in the preliminaries of Season 86 ended in a whimper.

None of the Soaring Falcons finished in double figures in scoring or rebounding in their 70-48 loss. For ADMU, three players scored at least 10 points, while Joseph Obasa had 16 rebounds, more than double the amount of rebounds any other player had.

Those numbers only added credence to the firepower and energy of the Blue Eagles from the jump. ADMU led by as many as 25 points and never allowed AdU to even get a taste of the lead.

In the end, the highlight of the game was Lastimosa’s final appearance on the court, which ended up being a moment of sportsmanship between both teams.

The game was an unfortunate disappointment in part due to the nature of playoff games, which tended to be close.

It felt as if the Soaring Falcons could have been and done so much more, especially given how they were able to stay close with ADMU. Prior to the 22-point loss, the margin of victory in the matchups between AdU and the Blue Eagles was 3.5 points. The Soaring Falcons’ ability to move the ball and extract 3-point shooting from these opportunities has kept them in most contests and it was unfortunate that it didn’t really materialize when it mattered the most.

All is not lost, however, as the exit of Lastimosa comes with a steady stream of recruits both from their high school program and outside. AdU has developed a solid program at the juniors level and it should make them all the more competitive when combined with better outside recruiting.

All good things must come to an end, and as such, the AdU Soaring Falcons UAAP Season 86 has come to a close. Could it have been a better end? Definitely, but this season is one to build and learn from, rather than mope over what might have been.