NATIONAL University has denied that it is considering Franz Pumaren as a replacement for Bulldogs head coach Eric Altamirano.
NU athletic director Junel Baculi issued the denial on Tuesday, saying he did so on the instructions of the school's owner and top team patron Hans Sy just hours after Spin.ph came out with the report.
"There is no truth to the Pumaren angle," said Baculi. "Hans Sy told me to categorically deny yung kay Pumaren."
Baculi also questioned the timing of the report, saying it could affect the team's morale four days before the Bulldogs play UST in a rubber match for a place in the UAAP men's basketball finals.
"It was maliciously delivered, and at the wrong opportune time," said Baculi. "It tends to down the morale of the team.
"As athletic director, I was instructed to address the issue."
Spin.ph has reported on Tuesday that the result of the Bulldogs' playoff run this season at the end of Altramirano's three-year program for the school will dictate the future direction of the team under an ambitious leadership - and the fate of its coach.
Sources have also told Spin.ph that NU is already weighing its options, among them current Air21 Express coach Pumaren who led La Salle to several championships in the collegiate league.
Despite the NU denial, sources insisted that Pumaren has been sent feelers on the Bulldogs job.
[For full story, see Stakes high for Altamirano ahead of do-or-die match as Pumaren enters NU conversation]
Baculi said the coaching situation is something the school leadership doesn't want to think about at this time as the Bulldogs gun for their first finals appearance in 43 years.
"We don’t want to say anything yet about that," the NU athletic director said. “We are in the thick of our Final Four battle with UST so hoping kami na umabot sa finals."