When second-year Adamson University Soaring Falcons head coach Franz Pumaren went back to the dugout of the SMART-Araneta Coliseum, he could not hide his frustration over what had just transpired.
“That’s the worst officiating. ‘Di kami binigyan pagkakataon maglaro,” he said.
La Salle had just shot 39 free throws against his team, compared to five for Adamson.
Ever since he returned to collegiate basketball, Pumaren has always been frustrated whenever he’d face his former team, the De La Salle University Green Archers.
In the six times he has faced La Salle so far, Pumaren has been slapped with a technical foul in each game. But Saturday evening, the multi-time champion mentor’s frustrations reached a fever pitch.
“I don’t want to sound sourgraping but I guess all the basketball fans saw the game. In fact, me coming from La Salle, even my friends from La Salle, friends I was in touch for the longest time, they can’t even celebrate the victory,” said Pumaren after Adamson were eliminated by La Salle, 75-82.
Looking back at his 11-year stay in La Salle from 1998-2009, Pumaren reflected that they had to work hard to earn the five championships he won under his belt.
“They’re lucky. During my time, I didn’t get that kind of calls. I couldn’t understand, every time that I played them I get a technical. Para bang… It’s ironic no?” quipped Pumaren.
What frustrated Pumaren the most was when they were trying to hold off La Salle’s furious rally in the final frame. According to him, even the slightest of touches were called fouls on them, but if the Green Archers were doing it against the Soaring Falcons, no whistle could be heard.
“Even though they made that run, we’re still in the game. But you know, example, block shot yung kay [Jerie] Pingoy binigay sa kanila,” Pumaren recounted. “Tapos they were bumping us and everything, we discussed about that sabi nila tatawagan naman daw nila, nakita niyo naman hinarang si Jerrick [Ahanmisi] walang foul niyayakap [ni Kib Montalbo]. Isang player nila tumawid hinarang namin foul kami.
“Ano ba naman yun di ba?”
La Salle shot 14 free throws in the final frame compared to none for Adamson.
“We worked hard for this. We prepared for it. I don’t think I was outcoached. I don’t think we got outplayed. It’s so disappointing,” lamented Pumaren.
Though he has experienced tough losses in his stellar coaching career, Pumaren could not help but be saddened that the hard work of the young Soaring Falcons ended up going to waste.
“I pity my players, they showed heart for this,” shared Pumaren.
“But anyway, it’s a learning experience for us. One year, or two years of playing experience in the Final Four, it will be just going to benefit us in the long run.”
To close, he threw a slight jab at La Salle head coach Aldin Ayo in true Pumaren style.
“Talagang this is the worst officiated game I’ve been in. You know stepping out of the coliseum nahihiya sa akin mga taga-La Salle, even the coaches of Zobel. They were so embarrased,” he said.
“Kaya nga yung kinamayan ko [si coach Aldin] ang lamig ng kamay eh. Hindi ko alam kung nagbubuhat ng yelo.”