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    Hope is in the Air as Franz welcomes entry of Baclao and Reyes

    Aug 20, 2012
    Franz Pumaren and the Express hope to be able to match up this time with the big teams in the league. Jerome Ascano

    AFTER a forgettable coaching debut for Air21 last season, Franz Pumaren is determined to put the Express’ woeful performance last season behind them by shoring up their roster with bigger players.

    “It’s pretty obvious that last season, we really had a difficult time matching up with bigger teams. We were forced to rotate on defense a lot of times, and that was tough for us,” said Pumaren, whose team went 5-27 overall last season.

    Air21, known as Shopinas.com during the Philippine Cup, failed to notch a single win in 14 games in Pumaren’s first conference as head coach.

    But with a multi-player deal that would eventually give them Rob Reyes and Nonoy Baclao from Petron Blaze set to be finalized, Pumaren has high hopes that they could somehow be a bit more competitive in the frontline.

    “Somehow, we have secured two big guys in Rob and Nonoy. Though we still need to fill the gaps in our wing and guard line,” said Pumaren.

    Air21 tapped 6-foot-8 former Mapua big boy Yousif Taha for its first pick in the draft at 11th overall, but Pumaren said the slotman is more like a project player for the team. The Express then added former La Salle guard Simon Atkins in the third round.

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    Franz Pumaren and the Express hope to be able to match up this time with the big teams in the league. Jerome Ascano
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