Why did coach Franz say Jeron Teng, Thirdy Ravena should have been MVPs?

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 31, 2020 01:07 PM
Why did coach Franz say Jeron, Thirdy should have been MVPs?
(Photo by Arvin Lim)

Franz Pumaren has won five championships in the UAAP.

After a legendary tenure in De La Salle University, he is now at the helm of the rise of Adamson University.

Through it all, he has overseen the discovery and developments of talents such as Dino Aldeguer, Don Allado, Mac Cardona, Jvee Casio, Renren Ritualo, and Joseph Yeo as well as Jerrick Ahanmisi, Jerom Lastimosa, and Sean Manganti.

And with his guidance, Allado was hailed as MVP while Ritualo had his jersey number retired in Taft Avenue.

In recent history, though, the multi-titled mentor has been a firsthand witness to a trend not necessarily to his liking. "How many local players na hindi nakakakuha ng award na they should have been the MVP?" he asked fellow coaches Charles Tiu, Paolo Layug, and Anton Altamirano in his appearance on Coaches Unfiltered.

He then continued, "Si Jeron Teng should have been MVP. Last year, dapat si Thirdy [Ravena] ang MVP."

In his last year for La Salle, Teng won a championship and Finals MVP while Season MVP went to teammate Ben Mbala from Cameroon.

The same went for Ravena who was the Finals MVP in Ateneo de Manila University's season sweep which came at the expense of University of Sto. Tomas led by Beninese Season MVP Soulemane Chabi Yo.

For Coach Franz, though, foreign student-athletes (FSAs) should not win MVPs - and instead, be recognized as Best FSAs.

"Ako, I proposed this already to our board representative, dapat sa UAAP, hindi nagiging MVP ang import," he said. "They should be classified as Best FSA. Kaya nga we call them imports e - they are bigger, stronger, more athletic so lamang na sila kaagad."

For reference, Mbala was MVP on the back of per game counts of 20.6 points in 54 percent shooting, 16.2 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, 1.4 steals, and 1.2 assists. That year, Teng averaged 16.9 markers, 3.3 boards, and 2.1 dimes.

Then a year ago, MVP Chabi Yo had norms of 16.9 points, 14.7 rebounds, and 1.3 assists while Ravena put up per game counts of 14.2 markers, 6.6 boards, 2.6 dimes, and 1.1 steals.

"Kaya nga sa PBA 'di ba, wala ngang nag-MVP na import dahil import yan e. Best Import lang," the talented tactician said. "At the same time, sa UAAP, it should be Best FSA. Kasi kawawa yung locals e. That's my opinion lang naman."

Make no mistake, however, Coach Franz is all in on FSAs - and is even adamant that they have done nothing but good for their schools, their squads, and their leagues. As he put it, short and sweet, "For me, it's good (they're here) e."

He also added, "Unang-una, when it comes to recruiting local players, ang first option nila is yung so-called big schools so at least with imports, you can level the playing field. Second, it's a good training ground din for local players. Can you just imagine, yan ang mga bantay ng local players?"

The Soaring Falcons shot-caller then went on to lament the NCAA's new ban on FSAs. "I was surprised nga how come (nangyari yun). Of course, it's the decision of the board of the NCAA, pero ako, it's my own opinion, if I'm a small school compared to the other big schools, the only way for me to compete is to get an import," he said.

In all, Coach Franz reiterated that FSAs have done nothing but good - even though he is also of the mind there should be a separate individual award for them. "(FSAs) improve the quality of the game. (FSAs) improves the level of competition," he said.

He then continued, "At the same time, yung local players, (FSAs) improve their skills e. So for me, I'm for it."

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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