ADAMSON may have bowed out of UAAP Season 79 but coach Franz Pumaren walked away with his head held high, taking pride in seeing his wards push La Salle to the limit before losing to the league’s best team in their Final Four battle on Wednesday.
“Wonderful run for us,” said Pumaren. “Even if we didn’t make it all the way, I can say that it was a magical run for us. Who would have imagined that we were in this situation?”
After finishing the regular season with an 8-6 record, the Falcons put up a gallant stand against the Green Archers and even had their chances to win late in the game. But La Salle held on to outlast Adamson, 69-64, and advance to the finals.
Pumaren couldn’t be any prouder of his wards, who were projected to miss the Final Four by pundits before the season.
“I’m very proud of my boys. Look at their size and their recruits. Look at the players that I have. We were a few minutes away from forcing another game,” said Pumaren.
Adamson entered the game with a ‘nothing-to-lose’ attitude against the team Pumaren led to four UAAP titles in his stint with La Salle. That mindset translated into perhaps their best game of the season.
“They [La Salle] are supposed to beat us with that kind of lineup, the support, the best of the best. But one thing I’m proud of, we went toe-to-toe,” he said.
“Good run for us. I’m so happy. I guess we overachieved,” Pumaren said.
The Falcons also limited La Salle to only three assists and forced 26 turnovers that frustrated head coach Aldin Ayo, who vented his frustration during the postgame interview.
Pumaren understands Ayo’s sentiments.
“I’m going to throw back that question. If you are coaching that team, magiging masaya ka ba with that kind of line-up and support, will you be happy? With their mayhem defense, who forced them to make turnovers?” said Pumaren.
In the end, it was the team’s inexperience that caused the Falcons to falter in the end, as they missed open three-point shots in the endgame to lose by five points.
“That’s a sign and a quality of a young team, an inexperienced team. But if you look at that, their shots were wide open. I was telling them that’s their shot. Given another opportunity, I won’t hesitate to tell you to take that shot,” said Pumaren.
Pumaren said the Falcons will definitely use this season’s experience to be a stronger team for Season 80.
“Whatever we accomplished this year and the disappointments we experienced, we will use it as a springboard for next year. Season 80 starts for us tomorrow. This game will help us become better individuals and a better team for next year,” said Pumaren.
Pumaren said he is more determined than ever to bring a UAAP championship to San Marcelino.
“I’m excited for next year and in Season 81. I don’t sugarcoat anything. I’m here to give Adamson a championship before my contract expires,” Pumaren said.