WINNING comes with a price.
Ask Adamson University coach Franz Pumaren, who admitted his charges struggled last season after they failed to advance to the Final Four for the first time since he took over at the Soaring Falcons’ helm from interim strategist Mike Fermin in late 2015.
“That’s the problem when you start winning. You start spoiling everybody, the community, the basketball fans. Last year was difficult for us precisely because we have a very young team, it was a very young team, no experience at all and of course, you can see the flashes of brilliance of the younger guys,” said Pumaren in the Coaches Unfiltered podcast presented by Smart and supported by Mighty Sports and Choi Garden.
“Hopefully, this year will be different, they are coming in as sophomores already,” he added.
With a young core, Adamson wound up with a 4-10 record for sixth in the last UAAP cage wars.
In 2018, the San Marcelino-based crew emerged with a 10-4 card after the elimination round for second but bowed to No. 3 and eventual runners-up University of the Philippines in their Final Four battle.
With the health risks and uncertainties brought about by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, the UAAP is eyeing to launch its 83rd season, set to be hosted by La Salle, early next year.
Pumaren, 56, is looking forward to next season upbeat with the addition of former Ateneo High School skipper Joaquin Jaymalin to the Falcons.
“We have to define the big names. When we say big names iyon iyong mga so-called blue chip rookies, nasa radar lahat ng mga teams iyan but we were able to get a player from Ateneo (High School), the captain ball, he will be a part of our team this season, he is Joaquin Jaymalin,” offered Pumaren, also a councilor in the third district of Quezon City.
“(He’s) 6’2 and I’m expecting him to grow an inch or two and he’s been under the radar because of course, Ateneo’s been a solid team, probably its rotation is still solid but one thing for sure, he can shoot. I’ve watched him, I think he’s a welcome addition on our part and I’m confident we can develop him to a better all-around.”
Stoking Pumaren’s optimism is the return of 5-foot-10 guard Jerom Lastimosa, who had a so-so stint last year.
“I think everybody will be surprised come next year,” he said. “I assure you that he will surprise a lot and people will start talking about Lastimosa come next year.”
The Falcons lost gunner Valandre Chauca, who was drafted 46th overall and signed up by TNT in the pro league, and big man Simon Camacho due to graduation.
Aside from Lastimosa, Fil-Nigerian playmaker Jerrick Ahanmisi, Congolese slotman Lenda Dounga, and young guns Aaron Fermin, AP Manlapaz, and Joem Sabandal are expected to lead Adamson’s bid to win its first title since 1977.