Franz Pumaren says Papi Sarr absence no excuse, rues poor play of Adamson vets in loss to Ateneo
Franz Pumaren lamented the poor play of his Adamson vets behind the Falcons' flat start. Jerome Ascano

ADAMSON coach Franz Pumaren isn't using Papi Sarr's absence on Saturday as an excuse for the blowout loss to Ateneo as he believes the Falcons could still play much better even without their top big man.

The Falcons lost to Ateneo, 85-65, on opening day of UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament on Saturday with Sarr sidelined due to a groin injury.

Ateneo took advantage with Chibueze Ikeh, who dominated the paint by accumulating 18 points and 17 rebounds in a Blue Eagles win.

Pumaren said he is not in the habit of making excuses and he is not about to make one with Sarr's absence.

"I'm one coach who will not dwell on that," said Pumaren. "I've been coaching for the longest time, you never hear me saying, 'Sayang, if this player was here.' That's part of my job, make the most out of my remaining 15 players."

[See Blue Eagles soar to a huge win over Falcons in Season 80 opening game]

Pumaren said the Falcons could have played better, ruing the veterans for not making their presence felt in the game with rookies Kurt Lojera and Keith Zaldivar making a stand in the fourth.

"We were kinda flat today. I don't think that is our usual game. Ikeh dominated us. I think they had a hard time trying to contain him. I really have to give credit to them (Ateneo). They really played well," said Pumaren.

"My rookies really gave a good account of themselves. It's just frustrating that some of our veterans played bad. It's a case of Ateneo played well, and us playing bad," said Pumaren.

Pumaren was slapped with a technical foul in the fourth quarter for complaining about a non-call on Thirdy Ravena, whom he claimed to have travelled on a scoring play that put Ateneo up, 73-60.

"Actually, that was my first technical foul in my entire career. Probably the first one, it doesn't concern officiating. (That was) when they called a technical on the ID," said Pumaren, referring to a 2008 incident where he was called for a technical foul for not wearing the league's ID.

"But historically, I don't really react on calls. Let's call a spade a spade. I was just trying to call the attention of the referees. At least, they can admit naman if they made a mistake. For one, it was really a travelling violation," said Pumaren.

[See Injured Sarr on Adamson loss to Ateneo: 'We're supposed to beat them']

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Even with the defeat, Pumaren said there is still a lot of time for the Falcons to bounce back.

"Our advantage is that we still have 13 games to go," said Pumaren. 

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