THE COVID-19 pandemic and the cancellation of the UAAP season has one of the country's most successful coaches seriously considering retirement.
In a chance meeting with Spin.ph at Quezon City Hall, current Adamson coach Franz Pumaren hinted about his future plans.
“Actually, I have been thinking about [retirement], not because the season has been cancelled, but because of this pandemic. Since we were on community quarantine, I realized I need to focus more on what needs to be done in the city,” said Pumaren, a councilor in Quezon City's third district.
"The situation and the eventual cancellation of the UAAP season made me think of retirement even more. Fact is, there’s more to basketball - that is helping. Since the lockdown, I was really thinking about it,” he added.
Though not yet closing his doors totally on coaching, Pumaren said he's leaning 60 percent towards calling it a career.
“I am already leaning towards that. In fact, I have already hinted about this to my coaching staff and they are just waiting for me to make a formal announcement,” said the multi-titled coach.
Pumaren was an iconic figure on the Dela Salle bench when the Green Archers dominated the UAAP, winning five titles including a 4-peat from 1998 to 2001.
Under his leadership, La Salle also produced a long line of future PBA players, among them Mike Cortez, JVee Casio, Joseph Yeo, Mark Cardona, Willy Wilson, Rico Maierhofer, Carlo Sharma and Ryan Arana.
As a PBA coach, he was instrumental in leading a ragtag Air 21 Express team to respectable campaigns from 2011 to 2014, even helping revive the career of Asi Taulava during the course of his stint.
Taulava eventually played six more years in the pro league.
Pumaren also sparked a resurgence for the Adamson Falcons, leading the San Marcelino squad to back-to-back Final Four appearances during Seasons 80 and 81 before the UAAP cancelled its campaign because of the pandemic.
“I owe a lot to basketball. It has led me to bigger responsibilities and one of which is this opportunity to serve. Right now, our constituents need me more,” said the former San Miguel Beer point guard.
During the lockdown, Pumaren has passed city resolutions to combat the spread of coronavirus. He has also been regularly distributing food and medical supplies around Quezon City.
As majority floor leader, he sponsored the resolution that authorized Quezon City mayor Joy Belmonte to enter into a multilateral agreement with Astra Zeneca and the national government for the advance purchase of vaccines.
“Much as I am fulfilled after each won game, right now, it is more fulfilling for me to see that the people of Quezon City are enjoying the support of their government and that they are healthy amid the pandemic,” he said.
Meanwhile sources told Spin.ph that being one of Belmonte and Vice-Mayor Gian Sotto's trusted allies, Pumaren might be groomed to run for higher office, possibly as congressman of the city's third district.