Pumaren says young Falcons ready to 'compete with the big boys' in D-League
Franz Pumaren is using Adamson's D-League stint to prepare the young Falcons in dealing with adversity and physicality in playing against veteran squads. Dante Peralta

MORE than victories in the PBA D-League, Adamson coach Franz Pumaren wants his players to gain experience as they begin the lengthy preparation for Season 81 of the UAAP this year.

Adamson’s preparation for the UAAP began in earnest as the Falcons participated in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup as Akari. And this early, the Falcons are making waves.

The Falcons pulled off an early surprise in the Aspirants Cup where they edged Marinerong Pilipino, 80-75, on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena. The Skippers are considered as one of the title contenders this conference.

“I don’t know if they underestimated us being a college team. But basically, because everybody is young at heart, we are here to prove something. We are here to show that we can compete even with the big boys,” said Pumaren.

The Falcons showed a lot of promise in UAAP Season 80 when they finished third at the end of the elimination round with a 9-5 win-loss slate. But the season ended on a sour note as the Falcons lost to La Salle, 82-75, in the Final Four.

Observers said the Falcons were unable to match the physicality that the Green Archers showed in their Final Four match, which even led to controversial comments made by Pumaren about the officiating of the game.

Pumaren said dealing with the physicality is one of the reasons why the Falcons joined in the PBA D-League.

“That is why we are here. We are here to learn to play the game. We are here to gain some experience,” said Pumaren.

All 13 players played in the game with team captain Jerrick Ahanmisi setting the pace with 23 points including 4 of 8 from threes. He also had five rebounds and four assists.

Among the new players that also suited up for Adamson are Jerom Lastimosa and Conrad Catapusan, who combined for 17 points in the contest.

“As you can see, I used all guys because 40 percent of my players are rookies. They need exposure and they need games like this,” said Pumaren.

“They are an interesting team this year. I personally recruited those guys. They are here to gain some experience for the coming UAAP,” he added.

Even with the win, Pumaren said the Falcons still have a lot to learn especially with the team coming off a short preparation for the D-League.

“Hopefully, we can make those adjustments kasi right now, there is a lot of rough edges in terms of defensive rules,” said Pumaren.


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