FRANZ Pumaren hopes Air21’s failed fourth-quarter comeback against Talk `N Text would serve his team well in its future games in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Pumaren felt the Express could have done better in their 83-86 loss against the Tropang Texters if not for playing what he termed as `complacent basketball’ for more than three quarters before staging a furious comeback in the final period that fell short in the end.
“We can’t afford to have a flat start like that. We were complacent at the start. Just imagine giving Talk ‘N Text 52 points in the first half?” lamented Pumaren after the game.
The Express hardly showed any resistance in the first three quarters and fell behind by as many as 46-68.
With Air21 import Michael Dunigan struggling at the post against the double team of Talk `N Text, the Express turned to forward KG Canaleta for the extra firepower and the big men readily responded by pouring in 20 of his team-high 23 points in the fourth quarter.
“They (Tropang Texters) stopped Michael but overall, it made KG wide-open. I think they put so much respect on Michael that’s why they were double-teaming him,” noted Pumaren.
The second-year Air21 mentor said he has been telling Dunigan to be prepared for the double team considering that he is the Express’ main offensive option at the post.
“He’s (Dunigan) young. And it’s a learning process for him. We talked about it (double-team). We were not just doing the proper spacing,” he added.
Dunigan, the 23-year-old University of Oregon alumnus, finished the game with just 19 points and seven rebounds, well below the 26-point, 19-rebound, and 5-block shot effort he did in Air21’s 74-70 win over Barangay Ginebra.
Pumaren and his team take a weeklong break before facing unbeaten Barako Bull Energy Cola next Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.