Derrick Pumaren unsure of return to UE
Derrick Pumaren is uncertain whether he would return to University of the East for another season after the Red Warriors failed to make the Final Four for the eighth consecutive year.
“I don’t know, really. I still have to see what’s the direction of the UE management for next season and I have to think about that,” Pumaren said after his team fell to University of Santo Tomas, 85-88, on Sunday.
Pumaren was named UE head coach in 2014 but has yet to bring the Red Warriors back to the semifinals, and though UE showed a lot of promise in UAAP Season 80, it still finished with the second-worst record in the league at 3-11.
“As I’ve told the team in the dugout, I think we could have done a lot better if we played consistently, both individually and as a team. I think that was the problem this season, that we were not playing consistent ball throughout,” he said.
The lack of success the past four seasons played a part in Pumaren expressing his doubts of coming back next year plus other matters that he hopes to discuss with the UE management.
“I’m still thinking if I’m going to renew for next year because it depends on where they want the team’s direction to go to. Imagine, we don’t have an import, but when it comes to recruitment and getting the local guys, I would say that we’re far compared to the other teams, maybe even last,” he said.
“That’s why I am saying right now, UE has to revisit what direction they want to go. That is one thing also that I have to think about. We already have a disadvantage without an import and we have a hard time recruiting local guys, so that makes the job more difficult,” Pumaren said. “Sometimes I envy other teams like UST and UP which have their own imports. We don’t. It’s so hard to get a 6-7, 6-8 Filipino now, and where will we find him? Unless we go for a Fil-Am, but the budget is still another story.”
Pumaren said being on the same page with the stakeholders in terms of enhancing the basketball program through better recruitment will be integral in bringing the Red Warriors back to contender status.
“That’s why I said I don’t know what’s the direction. Of course, they’re looking for a win, but they have to give me also what I need,” he said. “We can’t go to war without anything to offer. When I recruit, it’s just my basketball program that I offer. It’s just like when I was able to recruit Alvin, teams were offering him big incentives, but I was just able to convince his mother. But it’s not like that every day. You’ll be lucky to get one, but it’s not enough.”
“I might have a good program, but still, I have to also to have the materials. We can’t just be participants here.”