NEW Adamson coach Franz Pumaren has vowed to repay the school's full trust and confidence as he takes on the challenge of replicating his success with alma mater De La Salle, which he led to five UAAP championships including a four-peat from 1998.
Pumaren said he owes it to Adamson officials and Akari president Christopher Tiu, who is the team’s chief backer, to turn things around for a Falcons side that has not won a UAAP title since 1977, last reached the Final Four in 2011 and brought up the cellar the past two seasons.
“Mr. Tiu and the Adamson officials were all out in having me on board. So as much as possible, I don’t want to let them down,” said Pumaren, a day after the Falcons confirmed his appointment which was first reported by Spin.ph.
“Pressure is there for me talaga, but I take that as a challenge, kasi I felt how aggressive and eager the management of Adamson was in acquiring my services. Talagang they were vouching for my expertise, which to me, says a lot so I have to prove my worth to them,” said the councilor from the third district of Quezon City.
To kick-start the team's buildup, Pumaren has already commissioned the services of his former stars at La Salle, Renren Ritualo and Don Allado, to form the core of his coaching staff.
“We’ll find ways to rebuild this team, it’s not going to be easy. Like the adage, the development will not be overnight but of course I won’t allow it to drag too much,” bared Pumaren, a former San Miguel star in the PBA and one of the most successful coaches in the college leagues.
Aside from recruiting the two legendary Green Archers, Pumaren has aleady started burning the lines to put in the pieces he needs to revive the Adamson program.
“I am already calling some friends, some of them are currently handling young players who have the potential to make it big in the collegiate ranks,” he said.
“In fact, shortly after your story came out on Spin.ph, some of my friends abroad have also called in to volunteer help. Willing sila magbigay ng mga players nila duon for our recruitment,” he said.
Asked if he accepted the Adamson job only after La Salle named Letran champion coach Aldin Ayo to take over from former Green Archers coach Juno Sauler, Pumaren broke into laughter.
“Hindi naman. Matagal na rin kasi akong kinakausap ng Adamson. I have nothing to say about La Salle’s new direction, all I can answer you is about Adamson,” he said with a smile.
“'Yung iba sasabihin, kinuha ko ang Adamson offer dahil mayroon na sa La Salle (na coach), pero ang totoo, matagal na kaming nag-uusap ng Adamson at ng Akari,” he explained.
And how does it feel coming back to the UAAP with a new team?
“I am happy that though I am now with a different team, some of my friends and followers from the Green Archers are expressing support for me here. Although I admit, I am expecting goosebumps and weird feelings kapag siguro kalaban ko na ang La Salle,” added Pumaren.
Former Adamson star and PBA MVP Kenneth Duremdes has no doubt Pumaren can turn the Falcons around, so long as he is given time to do so by Adamson management and the community.
“Sana lang maging pasensyoso ang community kay coach Franz, hindi pwedeng one year lang, hindi maganda ang result, palit na naman,” said Duremdes, who briefly handled the Falcons two seasons ago.
“Bigyan mo ng two years atleast si coach Franz, with his track record, I am sure he can turn things around,” he added.