AIR21 coach Franz Pumaren admitted he is keeping his options open as far as retaining or replacing import Herve Lamizana is concerned following the team’s heartbreaking 91-95 loss to Talk 'N Text on Saturday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The 6-foot-8 Lamizana came up with a much better overall game of 18 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, and a conference-high seven blocks in 44 minutes but appeared to have faded out in the stretch run as a result of him being out of shape.
Lamizana also showed signs of fatigue in his debut game against Globalport which the Express won.
"You can just imagine if he's (Lamizana) in top shape, what he can do to the team. That's why when he drives to the basket, he can't finish it, because he's out of shape," Pumaren told Spin.ph after the game at the Astrodome.
But like any other import this conference, the Air21 mentor said Lamizana is under the microscope at this point.
"Everybody's under the microscope. So we have to look at the overall situation, but it all depends. I mean, if he's in 100 percent (game) shape, I think he'll be okay," Pumaren added.
The Ivorian big man got plenty of help from Air21 veteran center Asi Taulava, who led the Express with 23 points and 15 rebounds.
The 41-year-old Taulava appeared unstoppable in the final period after scoring 12 points in one stretch, getting a lot of baskets inside the paint.
Still, Pumaren is hopeful Lamizana could be at par with other PBA imports in terms of scoring.
"The bottomline, we need somebody who can lift us. It was an all-around game for him, but he has to be comparable with other imports in terms of scoring," said Pumaren.
Air21 will take a short break before preparing for the team's Friday game against Barako Bull.