AMID a round of coaching changes among the country's top collegiate teams, outgoing Adamson president Fr. Gregorio Bañaga said he believes the Falcons made the best choice by picking Franz Pumaren.
On Friday, Bañaga was asked to compare Dela Salle's decision to hire Letran champion coach Aldin Ayo and Adamson's choice of Pumaren, who won five UAAP championships for the Green Archers including four in a row.
“I would like to believe that it is Adamson,” said Bañaga.
“We didn’t have any second thoughts, wala kaming agam-agam (in picking Franz). And I think we made the right decision,” added Bañaga, who will pass the Adamson mantle of leadership to Fr. Marcelo Manimtim on December 7.
The soft-spoken Vincentinian priest said the track record of Pumaren alone was enough to convince them that the multi-titled coach is the man to turn around the fortunes of the long-suffering Falcons.
“Before we decided on getting Franz, we looked at his track record, palagay ko mas maganda yung kanyang track record. Yes, we made the better choice. We have no doubt about that,” he said.
“I think he has a capability that is beyond other coaches. Kaya nga siya ang pinili namin, dahil alam namin na siya ang makakapagdala sa amin sa next level. I am more than 100 percent confident that he can turn things around.
“He is one of the best coaches in the UAAP, definitely,” added Bañaga.
Even Adamson’s head of athletics and recreations Fr. Aldin Suan believes Pumaren has the edge, credentials-wise.
“Champiosnhip-wise, Franz has five, the other guy (Ayo) so far has one,” said Suan with a smile.
Asked if they were surprised to see La Salle leaving out Pumaren in the selection process for the next coach after the resignation of Juno Sauler, Bañaga nodded.
“We were already set on him. I don’t know what other reasons they have in La Salle (why they are not interested in Franz). Hindi ko na inano 'yun, I am not privy to that. I don’t know,” said Bañaga.
“Definitely (their loss is our gain), definitely. Saka bilog ang bola eh. Give us a chance also to experience a good coach,” he added.
Pumaren said he is flattered by the vote of confidence.
“Yung ngiti ko kanina hanggang tenga (when I heard his statement). It was the first time I heard it (I am the better coach) coming from the president,” he said.
“I think with that kind of statement, you know the very reason why I said yes to this program,” said Pumaren, who revealed how he turned down offers from other collegiate teams prior to his negotiations with Adamson.
“It will not be easy, but our program is for three years. It’s a new day for us, we will start charting down our program. The way they presented to me their ideas, that I will be given enough opportunity or elbow room to run this program, is already a testament to their belief that it will take some time to really make it all the way and develop,” he said.
Asked if he is not threatened by the recent history of Adamson coaching shuffles, Pumaren said, “I don’t want to sound cocky, but I am confident that we will have a decent showing here.".
Banaga for his part assured that they will give their full support on Pumaren atleast for the next three years.
“We have that plan to have at least three years or it might even be longer. We are really looking at building the team from where it is right now,” added Pumaren, who has signed a three-year deal with the school.
View interview with Fr. Banaga: