MANILA -- The lack of championship mettle proved immaterial for Adamson University as the Soaring Falcons won a 70-68 squeaker over De La Salle Sunday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

But snatching the victory over the best team in the past decade was not a walk in the park for the Adamson cagers, who have to deal with La Salle's signature full court press in a game marked by eight deadlocks and 16 lead changes.

With a slim victory in sight, Adamson turned the tables on La Salle in the payoff period, hitting 18 points against La Salle's nine.

Adamson slowly trimmed down the seven-point lead of La Salle in the fourth, courtesy of veteran Lester Alvarez's three-point shot and sophomore Eric Camson's goal to grab the lead, 65-64, with 4:10 remaining.

A seesaw ride ensued in the last three minutes but Alex Nuyles's drive and split charities of Camson in the last 12.9 ticks gave Adamson a two-point lead, 70-68, which ended up as the game's final score after La Salle committed back-to-back turnovers.

"I think for this game, zone defense is the key," fifth-year mentor Leo Austria told reporters.

The pulsating victory sent Adamson to its best first round finish (5-2) since the introduction of the Final Four format in 1994.

Adamson even finished with an 11-3 slate in Season 56 (1993-1994), bannered by now pro player Marlou Aquino.

Jan Colina topscored for the Falcons with 16 points and eight rebounds while Luis dela Paz led the scoring rally for the Green Archers with 13 markers, two boards, two assists and a steal as La Salle ended up with a 4-3 card. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)