UAAP: Franz Pumaren after Adamson-Ateneo: 'Playoffs started tonight'

Danine Cruz on Nov 04, 2018 09:13 PM
Pumaren after Adamson-Ateneo: 'Playoffs started tonight'
"Tonight's game is a testament that the playoffs started tonight." -- Franz Pumaren

For the first time in the UAAP, the men's basketball games were played in the Ynares Center in Antipolo. One might have expected that the games would be sparsely attended due to the out-of-town venue, but the UAAP Season 81 fans did not disappoint.

In the Ateneo de Manila University versus Adamson University game, rabid fans filled the ringside and the lower box section of the arena adding to the intense action on the hardwood. Considering the game and the crowd, even though it is still just the second round, Falcons head coach Franz Pumaren felt the playoff atmosphere.

"Tonight's game is a testament that the playoffs started tonight. Atmosphere was different, the intensity was different," said Pumaren after his Adamson squad was dealt with its third loss of the season after eleven games.

The Soaring Falcons had a statement victory over the Blue Eagles in the first round.

However, as much as they wanted to sweep Ateneo in the eliminations, they failed as the Eagles' defense limited them to 26.4 points lower than their average.

"We were too relaxed, I guess, thinking we can always turn it on and off. We have to give credit to Ateneo. They came out with a lot of fire, a lot of intensity. Its just a matter of simple analysis. They played well. We played bad. We were taken out of our comfort zone," he said.

Jerrick Ahanmisi, who usually scores an average of 18.8 points, was held to just 10 points while Sean Manganti, who has averaged 15.1 points, was limited to just six.

With Adamson's two top gunners having an off night offensively, Pumaren looked at the silver lining and thought that they did a decent job defensively.

"Coming from a team that's been on a massacre mission, they scored 62 points. We still had a decent defensive effort for tonight's game. It's just we couldn't convert," he said, "They really wanted this victory. In spite of that, we forced them to 22 errors, for a number one team I think that's an accomplishment on our part. Just imagine if we don't force them, baka mas malaki pa ang lamang."

Regardless of the outcome of the latest Adamson versus Ateneo tiff, Pumaren hopes to meet the Blue Eagles again this season. After all, he has been very honest that he loves coaching against Tab Baldwin.

"It's nice playing against Ateneo. Hopefully, we can still meet each other. They make the best out of me and the best out of the team because coaching against a very experienced coach," Pumaren said.

With Ateneo currently the league-leading team with a 10-2 record and Adamson coming in second with an 8-3 slate, Pumaren might just get his wish. But he made it clear that he is not banking on the current standings. They still have three more games to play -- versus University of Santo Tomas, University of the East, and Far Eastern University.

"We're not even sure of everything. We just have to do our own job. We cannot rely on other teams beating the other school for us to be assured. Who knows. We still have three games. I think the last games, this is the most [important], there's a logjam with 2, 3, 4," said the Adamson mentor.

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