Derick Pumaren wants his De La Salle Green Archers to stay ready even if the opening of the next UAAP season has become uncertain, no thanks to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The league has cancelled Season 82, and is now deliberating which steps it should take for Season 83 following the country’s management of the the situation brought upon by the virus.
There’s even a possibility that the UAAP may start early next year, since just last week, the Philippine Sports Commission suspended all sporting events until December 2020.
“The line of thinking for the team is that whether it starts January or February, we must be ready,” Pumaren said during his talk in the Hoop Coaches International Webinar. “We don’t just start later on.
“Until we get the final word, we still try to prepare the team as much as possible.”
Part of their preparations includes holding online workouts to ensure that his wards remain in shape.
“Well right now — believe it or not, more than a month now, we’ve been doing online team workouts,” he said.
“The players aren’t doing just individual workouts, but we have an online team workout at eight in the morning every day Monday to Friday, and then we break on Saturday and Sunday.”
From dribbling skills, to conditioning drills, and even yoga, the online workouts have it. For Pumaren, the coaches are putting in variety in the sessions to avoid boredom among the players.
“We want to be at least in shape. Maybe not in basketball shape, but we’ll be in better shape when we come back… We do it with variety para hindi rin ma-bore ang team,” he said.
For the PBA champion coach, who took over the program last January, he doesn’t want any complacency arising in his team, so he’s doing everything he can to get his men as prepared as they can be.
“We are trying to get back to the Final Four, so we cannot just be complacent,” Pumaren expressed.
“We cannot have that same attitude that we’ve had in the last two seasons.”
The Green Archers have been out of the Final Four picture in the last two seasons, a disappointing fact considering that they were in the Finals before they plummeted.
Pumaren, who led La Salle to its first two UAAP championships 30 years ago, wants to change that. And the good thing, he said, is that his players understand what they are trying to do.
“I know it’s a big challenge for me making it to the Final Four but it is not impossible,” Pumaren said.
“The players right now understand, we understand each other what we’re trying to achieve here. We just have to be all on the same page. We just have to be there. If we want to achieve this, we need to do this, we need to sacrifice. It’s not gonna be a walk in the park for us. The La Salle community expects a lot from us,” he continued.
“We are not in a norm territory, we should be up there. We should not be down here. In the last five years, back-to-back fifth place. I’m not here just to get fifth place. I’m here to win. They know that.”