As expected, the Adamson University Soaring Falcons sat out aces Jerrick Ahanmisi and Sean Manganti for their final match of the season. And who could blame them?
The Soaring Falcons are already assured of the second seed in the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Basketball Final Four. They are also set to face the UP Fighting Maroons with a twice-to-beat advantage, win or lose.
So five-time UAAP champion coach Franz Pumaren decided to rest Ahanmisi and Manganti for the game, because they are nursing an illness and an injury, respectively. And if anyone wants to inquire, Pumaren challenged them to check his players’ hospital records.
“Things like that, it happens. If they want to validate if they’re just playing sick, they can go to the hospital. They can check it,” declared Pumaren, who is in his third year with Adamson. “If they think that Sean Manganti is just faking his injury, they can go to Focus Athletics, that he went there to get his treatment.
“Given that scenario, I don’t think any coach for that matter will push the issue eh. Any team for that matter, any school, I don’t think you would push your injured players. They’re not one-hundred percent, why push them?”
According to Pumaren, Ahanmisi is recovering from fever, while Manganti is nursing a right ankle sprain.
Without Ahanmisi and Manganti, the Soaring Falcons looked lost. They dropped 0-14 early, while facing a lead that went to as high as 36 points. As a result, Adamson fell to the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, 56-82.
With FEU’s win, they will now face the De La Salle Green Archers in a win-or-go-home game for the last Final Four spot. Additionally, everyone knows that Pumaren was the previous coach of La Salle back in the late 90’s to the 2000’s.
Though many say that Pumaren has bad blood with La Salle, he begs to differ. Moreover, he opined that any actions taken were because they had that luxury.
“This is a reward for all our hard work. I don’t think anybody can take it against us. I don’t think we wanted this scenario. It just so happened our players are injured, it’s nothing personal.
“I, for the longest time have been coaching – I don’t put our destiny to others, we write our own destiny. Ang hirap eh. I experienced that before, na sana manalo yung ganito, matalo yung ganyan, you have no full control in that particular scenario,” he said.
Still, he won’t take it against the fans who are critical of his actions.
“People can be very critical of today’s game. They have to look at the whole landscape of the UAAP or any basketball for that matter,” he opined.
“We reverse the situation, kung yung isang school naman ang andito at kami naman ang naghihintay, [then] matalo yung hoping namin mananalo, kami we have to go through a knockout, I wont take it against that team because that’s not in our control – we have no control over that.”