Pumaren relishes GlobalPort’s unexpected crack at playoff berth
GlobalPort coach Franz Pumaren admitted that he didn’t expect his team to be at this stage after its largely forgettable run in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
“Last month, I don’t think we’ll have chance to make it to the next level,” he said.
Starting the conference with a 1-5 slate, the Batang Pier almost threw in the towel as Pumaren struggled to find a groove for his side, changing imports from Sean Williams to Malcolm White, and weathering the absence of Terrence Romeo who was with Gilas Pilipinas.
“In fact, they were thinking already that we will not be in this kind of situation,” said the outspoken mentor.
But GlobalPort made waves and flipped reinforcements one last time and rolled the dice with Justin Harper, welcomed Romeo back, and engaged in a blockbuster trade midway through the conference which brought Sean Anthony, Bradwyn Guinto, and Jonathan Grey to its fort.
And the results were instant with Batang Pier winning three of their last five games to wound up with a 4-7 slate after the end of eliminations, enough to force an eighth place playoff against Alaska slated on Sunday.
“We thought that we’re going to lose it all,” the mentor. “But I like where we are right now.”
Given another lease on life, the Batang Pier knows what at stake on Sunday: it’s win or go home.
“We just have to win on Sunday,” he said. “I don’t want to say we’re going to lose because we are tired and I don’t want to use that alibi. What’s important for us is we have to survive our game on Sunday.”
The winner of the said duel will face the number one-seed Ginebra, armed with a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, on Tuesday.