AFTER a three-year love affair with Adamson University, coach Franz Pumaren is likely to get a contract extension with the team.
But with the Soaring Falcons taking a much-needed break after a grueling campaign in the 81st UAAP basketball tournament campaign, nothing is cast in stone – for now.
“Up for renewal si coach Franz (Pumaren) pero nothing concrete as of now,” an unimpeachable source told Malaya-Business Insight yesterday.
“The team is on a break,” added the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Pumaren’s three-year contract with Adamson expired at the end of the season where he steered the Falcons to their third straight Final Four appearance.
Adamson, behind speedy playmaker Jerrick Ahanmisi, Sean Manganti, and 6-foot-6 Cameroonian import Papi Sarr, finished the eliminations with a 10-4 card to emerge as the No. 2 seed in the Final Four opposite third-ranked University of the Philippines.
The Fighting Maroons, however, completed a stunning ouster of the twice-to-beat Falcons in their Final Four duel to gain their first finals stint in 32 years.
“Looking forward to a break muna,” Pumaren said after Adamson’s heartbreaking 87-89 loss in overtime to UP last Nov. 27.
“But like what I mentioned, basketball never stops. It’s just a big hole, a hump along the way that will make the team better and stronger, individually.”
Pumaren, who replaced interim tactician Mike Fermin at the helm late in 2015, admitted that he was disappointed after the Falcons failed to advance to the Big Dance.
“You know, I’m gonna say that it’s an accomplishment of sorts that in the past three years, we’re in the Final Four. But you know, I don’t get paid just to be in the Final Four,” offered Pumaren. “It’s a partly frustrating year for me, expecting that we’d be in the finals.”
Adamson will only lose Manganti to graduation, with the likes of Ahanmisi, Sarr, Jerie Pingoy, Jonathan Espeleta, Simon Camacho, and Jerom Lastimosa all expected to return next season and lead the Falcons’ bid to win their first crown since 1977.
Whether he stays or not, Pumaren is nonetheless proud of what he accomplished for Adamson.
“We gained a lot of respectability. We’re able to establish and put Adamson as a powerhouse in basketball. You know, right now, it’s being considered the destination for some high school kids who want to develop,” he said.
“Those basketball experts that won’t think we accomplished something, they’re just being hypocrites. I was right that we’re just like a startup company who already gained some dividends. Our stock went up. So I guess it’s a big improvement.”
(M. Jugado, Malaya)