After nabbing Final 4 spot, 'gate-crasher' Adamson looks at no. 2 | Inquirer Sports

After nabbing Final 4 spot, ‘gate-crasher’ Adamson looks at no. 2

/ 06:37 PM November 10, 2016
Adamson head coach Franz Pumaren. Photo by Trsitan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Adamson head coach Franz Pumaren. Photo by Trsitan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

After five years, Adamson has ended its drought by booking return trip to the Final Four on Wednesday.

Coach Franz Pumaren put the experience this way: “I think right now, we’re living the dream.”

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“I feel that we surprised a lot of basketball fanatics that we were able to fast-track everything,” he added after the Soaring Falcons’ 76-61 victory over University of Santo Tomas.

READ: Adamson completes Final Four cast; NU, UP out

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Carrying a 7-5 record, Adamson claimed the last semifinals spot this season, accelerating the process
Pumaren envisioned when he took the job earlier this year.

“We’re looking at 2017. This year, we just wanted to be very competitive but I guess my players, they want to attend that advance party and they were able to accept and embrace what they were supposed to do, and that’s why we’re here,” he said.

It was also a sweet victory for senior forward Dawn Ochea, who gets his first crack at the postseason action for the first time in his collegiate career.

“Syempre sa akin masaya. Four years na ako dito at ngayon lang ako nakapasok sa Final Four,” he said, reflecting on his time in San Marcelino where he had to go under four coaches in his five-year stint.

“Nagawa namin yung mga pinapagawa sa amin ni coach at nabigyan namin yung school ng marangal na posisyon. Isang privilege itong makapasok sa Final Four at hindi namin ito papakawalan.”

Even Adamson’s rookies were overwhelmed with the feat, a definite overachievement after years of toiling in the cellar.

“Ever since I got here to Adamson, I knew that the basketball history wasn’t that great, and I really wanted to change that and be a part of something great,” said guard Robbie Manalang.

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Jerrick Ahanmisi agreed, attributing the rise to the culture Pumaren wanted to have for the team.

“I knew that we were gonna make it this far as a team if we just follow what coach Franz told us to do,” he said. “For us to never be satisfied with where we are and what we’ve accomplished, I think that we just got to keep moving forward.”

With the first goal now secured, Adamson can continue dreaming as it shoots for at least a playoff for the top two spot, which comes with twice-to-beat edge, in its remaining games against National University and Ateneo.

“As I’ve said, we’re living the dream and we’ll continue dreaming,” said Pumaren. “We’ll continue the journey. We’re in a situation where there’s a possibility that we can create a tie for the second spot, so why not? I guess we’re the gate-crasher right now in this Final Four dance and with this opportunity, we might as well make the most out of it.”

“This is just part and parcel of our journey. If I’m dreaming right now, I hope I don’t wake up.”

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