Pumaren cools heels waiting for guidelines

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    ONE can’t be too careful.

    This was stressed by veteran La Salle coach Derrick Pumaren after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Diseases green-lighted the collegiate league teams’ return to training.

    “Of course, I’m glad (with the IATF ruling on return to training) but we still can’t get excited,” Pumaren told Malaya-Business Insight.

    “(We) just have to wait for the guidelines and protocols,” he added.

    The Commission on Higher Education’s technical working group that will be headed by executive director Atty. Cinderella Filipina Benitez-Jaro will craft the proper health and safety guidelines for student-athletes expected to be released two to three weeks from now.

    UAAP executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag, committee chairman on sports and rules dean Francisco Diaz of University of the Philippines, and Far Eastern University athletics director Mark Molina, a member of the committee, will represent the UAAP in the task force.

    With the lingering health perils 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.

    The Green Archers, who last won the title in 2016 under Aldin Ayo, finished with a 7-7 card for fifth last season and failed to reach the Final Four for the second straight year.

    Instead of taking it easy after he replaced Gian Nazario and active consultant Jermaine Byrd last January, Pumaren, who led La Salle to its first two titles in 1989 and 1990, buckled down to work and boosted the Archers’ line-up.

    Prized playmaker Evan Nelle moved from San Beda University to the Taft-based five, although he will serve the required one-year residency before he can suit up for the Archers.

    La Salle also secured the commitments of forwards CJ Austria of University of the East High School, and Emman Galman of Perpetual High School.

    Fil-Am brothers Benjamin and Michael Phillips, both 6-foot-8, are also set to join the squad.
    Among those expected to anchor La Salle’s bid to reclaim the crown are lanky center Justine Baltazar, guards Aljun Melecio, Encho Serrano, Jordan Bartlett, and Kurt Lojera, forward Tyrus Hill, and 6-foot-11 Senegalese big man Amadou Ndiaye.