Adamson Falcons head coach Franz Pumaren walked out of their locker room calm and collected. He headed towards the media room seemingly quiet, but the longtime UAAP coach had a lot of words to say after what he considered to be the worst officiated game he has ever seen.
“I don’t want to sound sourgraping but I guess all the basketball fans saw the game,” he began. “In fact, me coming from La Salle, even my friends from La Salle, friends I was in touch for the longest time, parang they can’t even celebrate the victory.”
Pumaren of course made a name for himself being the head coach for La Salle from 1998-2009, winning five UAAP championships.
The Falcons lost 82-75, ending their season on a disappointing note as the defending champions headed towards the UAAP Finals to defend their crown.
Pumaren didn’t want to sound like a sore loser but he was frustrated with the referees’ calls against his team.
Looking at the stats, the Falcons were called for 33 fouls as opposed to only 12 for the Archers. Worse, the free throw disparity was glaring enough that Pumaren joked, “Close yung free throws. Konti no?” The Archers shot a whopping 26 times at the foul line out of 39 attempts. The Falcons? They only went 2-for-5 from the charity stripe.
Pumaren was visibly angry the entire game, and was even slapped with a technical foul towards the end of the third quarter. Specifically, he pointed out the non-call on Jerie Pingoy’s three-point attempt in the fourth period when the Falcons were going back-and-forth with the Archers.
“Isa na lang yung tawag, nasupalpal si Pingoy, last touch yun nasupalpal eh, tapos sa kanila bola,” the coach lamented. “They’re lucky. During my time, I didn’t get that kind of calls. I couldn’t understand, every time that I played them I get a technical. Para bang… it’s ironic no?”
He went on, “Let’s do it like this. You try to be it in my shoes tapos makita mo iyon, alam mo yung nangyayari. You know, things that we talked about even prior to the game, we don’t apply it. It’s so frustrating. It’s just like rubbing it, it’s like getting it away from my players. We worked hard for this. We prepared for it. I don’t think I was outcoached. I don’t think we got outplayed. It’s so disappointing. It didn’t come from me. Even my fellow friends from La Salle, they weren’t even proud of it.”
In the end however, Pumaren didn’t want to dwell on the game. He didn’t want to stress over on the referees, on La Salle, or their failed attempt to enter the Finals. The veteran mentor already started looking ahead for Season 81.
“Anyway, for me okay lang yun. We just have to be tougher probably next year. It should have been sweeter if we would have beaten them in spite of all the help,” he calmly shared. “It’s a learning experience for us. One year, or two years of playing experience in the Final Four, it will be just going to benefit us in the long run. “
Now in his second year with Adamson, Pumaren is proud of what his team has accomplished in the short amount of time. From being known cellar-dwellers in past UAAP seasons, the Falcons have become perennial contenders in the last two years.
“Remember, when I took over the culture here in Adamson, they’ve been out of the playoffs for the longest time and it will take a while,” Pumaren confidently said. “A year of experience this year will benefit us. I have a very young team.”
“Obviously speaking, I think now Adamson is being talked about. I guess now people are talking about us. At least now we get the respect of the other schools,” he added.
With only three players graduating (Robbie Manalang, Dawn Ochea, and Terrence Mustre), Adamson looks primed and ready for more success moving forward. Guards Jerrick Ahanmisi and Jerie Pingoy have evolved into not just scorers or all-around playmakers, but they have grown to be leaders of the team as well.
“I just told them hold their heads high. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. And we’ll see. Our season will start tomorrow. I got interesting pieces for next year,” Pumaren said.