By Jerome Lagunzad
This time, it’s GlobalPort’s turn to return the favor to Adamson.
With the Batang Pier already out of contention in the season-ending PBA Governors Cup, GlobalPort team management has given Franz Pumaren the green light to shift his attention on the Soaring Falcons’ title campaign in the UAAP Season 80 basketball tournament.
The development could not have come at a more opportune time as Adamson racked up two straight victories, including a wire-to-wire 79-60 victory over struggling University of the East last Sunday, and moved into the “Magic Four” with a 3-2 mark, in a tie with University of the Philippines.
“It’s our turn to give way to Adamson,” said GlobalPort governor and AirAsia executive Erick Arejola. “Adamson allowed Franz to handle GlobalPort for two seasons, including as consultant, so this time we will return the favor to them.”
Pumaren took over the coaching reins in the Philippine Cup where the Batang Pier made big strides, reached the quarterfinal round as a fifth-seed and gave the TNT KaTropa all they could handle in their knockout match.
GlobalPort stayed in contention in the Commissioner’s Cup and clinched the eighth and final playoff spot, but fell prey to top-ranked Barangay Ginebra in the quarterfinals.
Their bold plans, however, went in disarray in the Governors Cup as the Batang Pier lost their last five matches after an encouraging 3-3 start.
The nagging knee injury of high-scoring guard Terrence Romeo plus the untimely death of Stanley Pringle’s father that forced the Fil-Am guard to miss two crucial matches didn’t give the Batang Pier any favor, resulting to a 10th place finish.
Still, Arejola sounded grateful with how Pumaren served his duties with the Batang Pier.
“He did a great job to the team and if not for some heartbreaking losses we could have done better this conference,” said the AirAsia top executive.
While Pumaren is “on leave of absence,” Arejola said the team’s assistants will assume the coaching duties until they find a tactician willing to serve the team on an interim capacity.