Derrick Pumaren clarifies he's just a 'caretaker' for CEU amid search for Yong Garcia replacement
Derrick Pumaren insists he's handling the Scorpions only for the meantime while they look for Yong Garcia's replacement. Dante Peralta

DERRICK Pumaren made it clear that he’s just a mere caretaker for Centro Escolar University following the sudden departure of coach Yong Garcia.

Pumaren shed light on the Scorpions’ coaching situation, saying that the management installed him on the post just days before the team’s first game in the 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup.

“Boss JJ Yap asked if I could be the coach and the general manager. Hindi naman ako makatanggi because it's for the school,” the veteran mentor said as he concurrently fulfills the coaching and managerial duties for the basketball team.

Pumaren bared that Garcia, a longtime deputy of coach Egay Macaraya, tendered his resignation only on Friday due to personal reasons, leaving CEU with little time to find a replacement.

That led to Pumaren making an abrupt coaching comeback, six months since leaving the auspices of University of the East.

Despite kicking off the Scorpions’ new era with a 94-78 win over Che’Lu Bar and Grill on Thursday, Pumaren maintained that they’re still in the process of looking for the next man at the helm.

“Hopefully, we find a new coach so we’ll be able to run the team. Right now, we are keeping our cards close to our chest. But we are talking to some guys,” he said.

Regardless if he stays as the head coach or not, Pumaren is quite happy with how this revamped CEU squad performed in the game.

“We are in a rebuilding process. I've only been running the team for two days because of the unexpected resignation of coach Yong, but it’s good that the players were able to adjust quickly,” he said.

“I'm proud with how the boys played especially the defense. We’re younger and smaller, but as I told them, our size is not a weakness but rather, a strength,” he added.


Follow the writer on Twitter: @dolphtrythis