FRANZ Pumaren quickly leapt to Adamson’s defense after a listless performance resulted in a 26-point drubbing, 82-56, at the hands of Far Eastern University at the end of the UAAP Season 81 elimintions on Sunday.
Not a few people felt the Falcons – who played sans stars Jerrick Ahanmisi and Sean Manganti - took the night off with the No. 2 seed in the Final Four, and the twice-to-beat incentive that goes with it, already secure.
The result, however, had major implications for La Salle, who’ll now have to face the Tamaraws in a playoff for the final semifinal berth on Wednesday.
But in the face of ‘benta’ allegations of fans on social media, Pumaren insisted Ahanmisi and Manganti are injured, adding people are free to check on the status of his two stars.
Pumaren, a former La Salle coach, asserted Ahanmisi was out with a fever, as Manganti is resting a sprained ankle.
“Things like that, it happen. If they want to validate if they’re just playing sick, they can go to the hospital, they can check it. If they think that Sean Manganti is just faking his injury, they can go to Focus Athletics, that he went there to get his treatment,” said Pumaren.
“Given that scenario, I don’t think any coach for that matter will push the issue e. Any team for that matter, any school, I don’t think you would push your injured players. They’re not 100 percent, why push them?” he added.
Looking at it from the other side of the coin, Pumaren said that games like this are actually a reward for winning games early and putting themselves on a favorable position for much of the season.
With nothing at stake for the Falcons, resting their stars for games which actually matter becomes a luxury.
“This is a reward for all our hard work. I don’t think anybody can take it against us. I don’t think we wanted this scenario. It just so happened our players are injured,” Pumaren said.
Despite the five-time champion’s history with La Salle, Pumaren insisted that it’s nothing personal, sayingthe Green Archers merely paid the price of leaving their fate in the hands of other teams.
La Salle would have automatically clinched a semis berth if they won against University of the Philippines last Sunday.
“It’s nothing personal. I for the longest time have been coaching, I don’t put our destiny in others' [hands], we write our own destiny. Ang hirap e. I experienced that before, na sana manalo yung ganito, matalo yung ganyan, you have no full control in that particular scenario,” explained Pumaren.
“We reverse the situation, kung yung isang school naman ang andito at kami naman ang naghihintay. Matalo yung hoping namin mananalo, kami we have to go through a knockout, I wont take it against that team. Because we have no control over that,” he added.
The outspoken coach also said that people might have overlooked the performance of the Tamaraws, who definitely played like a team that’s fighting for dear life.
“You have to give credit to FEU. They really played well. I think they shot the lights out in today’s game. They really played well. Due credit to FEU. They really wanted this game more than anybody. They were really, they started strong and finished strong.“