After leaving the UE Red Warriors last November, grizzled tactician Derrick Pumaren gladly took a back seat with the Centro Escolar University Scorpions. He embraced a job as part of the back-end staff of the Scorpions as the team’s general manager.
However, a sudden turn of events brought him back to the sidelines.
Last Friday, Scorpions head coach Yong Garcia resigned from his post, citing personal reasons as they main cause of his sudden departure. With the 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup opening its curtain in just a few days, CEU did not look any further to find an interim chief strategist.
“He resigned last Friday. Saturday, they were still making a decision if I will handle the team. When we informed the PBA, they said na we have to make a decision,” disclosed Pumaren. “So Boss JJ [Yap] asked if I could be the coach and the general manager.
“Hindi naman ako makatanggi because it’s for the school.”
With little time to prepare, Pumaren allowed the Scorpions to run the same old plays they had. And it proved to be a good decision as CEU handily defeated the Che’Lu Revellers, 94-78.
“Well a, we’re running the same system. I’ve only been running the team for two days because of the unexpected resignation of Coach Yong. It’s good that the players were able to adjust quickly,” Pumaren shared.
Pumaren’s appointment is just the one of many changes the Scorpions had to experience during the off-season. Rod Ebondo has already exhausted his playing years while the majority of the Scorpions left the school to play for the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.
And just as he has always done during his stellar career, Pumaren has to make do with the materials he has.
“We are in a rebuilding process — a new era sabi with Ebondo gone. We’re a smaller team and we got raided by Maharlika. Hopefully, we will be able to adjust. I’m proud with how the boys played especially the defense,” he said.
“As I told them that it’s not a weakness, but rather our strength.”