THE Pumarens are a close-knit family who never fail to gather for lunch during Sundays.
That may change a bit next UAAP season.
I guess during the UAAP season, we won’t have any Sunday lunch with the family kasi hindi makapag-divulge ng game plans,” joked Franz Pumaren on the day he was formally introduced as the new Adamson coach.
Franz's appointment puts him on a collision course with older brother Derrick, who has coached University of the East for the past two seasons with younger brother Dindo as assistant.
The Pumaren patriarch, Pilo, is a former star and coach at UE where Derrick also played in college. Dindo and Franz played college ball at La Salle, where Franz coached for a long time with Derrick as assistant.
Now the Pumaren brothers find themselves on opposite sides.
As fate would have it, the Pumarens will likely clash right on Franz's debut with Adamson. That's because UAAP rules call for the sixth-placed team (UE) to face the eighth-ranked squad (Adamson) from the previous year to face off on opening day.
“We’ll see,” the stoic Derrick told Spin.ph when asked about the early showdown. "It's too early."
Franz said he is looking forward to it.
“It’s going to be fun (going up) against your older brother. In case you don’t know, he used to coach me, so more or less, I know what is in his mind. It’s going to be fun,” he said.
Franz won five championships at La Salle with Derrick as consultant - a time when the dreaded full-court press that has become identified with Pumaren-coached teams first became known.
Derrick recalled how the pressure defense has instantly transformed the Green Archers from perennial bridesmaids into champion in the first year under the Pumarens.
“In previous years kasi, they were trying to beat other teams by playing in the post. When Franz was the coach of La Salle, I was the consultant and that’s where I introduced ‘yung press sa La Salle," said Derrick.
"Kasi during that time, La Salle was always a bridesmaid even though they were a consistent finalist,” Derrick added.
So this early, can we anticipate a battle of two full court-pressing teams when Adamson and UE face off?
Derrick, who won championships with RFM Swift in the PBA, said he will have a few tricks in his sleeve since his pressure defense system has been tweaked and re-tweaked over the years.
“The press that I introduced sa La Salle is different from the press na alam nila at ginamit nila,” said Derrick without elaborating. “Through the years siyempre, I have to make adjustments on how to attack it.”
However, Derrick is certain Franz's arrival will be a boost to the basketball program of Adamson, which won its only UAAP championship in 1977 and last reached the Final Four in 2011.
“For one they will have a solid program. Kailangan din talaga nila ng suporta,” said Derrick.