Disappointment aside, Franz Pumaren proud of Adamson program's turnaround | Inquirer Sports

Disappointment aside, Franz Pumaren proud of Adamson program’s turnaround

By: - Reporter / @BLozadaINQ
/ 06:01 PM November 29, 2018

Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

It was a game that nearly turned “atin to!” to “amin to!”

In what could easily be the best game of the whole UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament, University of the Philippines duked it out with Adamson University for 45 minutes before eking out an 89-87 overtime win in its do-or-die Final Four matchup Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.


The Fighting Maroons advanced to their first finals stint since they won it in 1986 but it nearly didn’t happen if Adamson’s Jerom Lastimosa’s last-ditch three-pointer went a little bit to the right.


“He made some mental mistakes but that’s part and parcel of being a 20-year-old kid out of the province,” said Adamson head coach Franz Pumaren said of Lastimosa who hails from Dumaguete.

“I don’t think he imagined that he will play in a situation like this.”

Lastimosa doesn’t carry the same notoriety as the likes of the graduating Sean Manganti, the sweet-shooting Jerrick Ahanmisi, or the lumbering Papi Sarr but he had the gall and the guts to put the Soaring Falcons on his back.

With time running out and two Fighting Maroons closing in on him, Lastimosa drilled a three-pointer that sent the game to overtime, 78-78, with 2.6 seconds left that left the nearly 21,000 people inside the Big Dome flummoxed.

But alas overtime belonged to the man that made “atin to!” a battle cry—UP captain Paul Desiderio.

Shooting an arctic 2-of-18 from the field, Desiderio took over in the final moments for the Fighting Maroons that left even Pumaren in awe of senior’s courage.


“Hats off to Desiderio, he really doesn’t want to lose, and it’s all heart,” said Pumaren. “He took over right? It’s just a sign of a very good or great college player, he’s willing to accept the responsibility and he’s willing to take over.”

Desiderio gave UP the 87-85 lead with a three-pointer around 40 seconds left in overtime and nailed another clutch jumper over Manganti with 6.6 seconds that was essentially the Fighting Maroons’ game-winner.

Lastimosa could’ve followed up his gutsy triple at the end of regulation but his last attempt bounced off the left side of the rim and UP was able to hang on and end the 32-year finals drought.

The loss was surely a disappointment Pumaren, who was expected to lead the team to the UAAP Finals, but he added that Adamson’s amazing turnaround in the last three years still carries a lot of weight.

“It’s kind of a frustrating year for me, expecting that we’ll be in the Finals,” admitted Pumaren, who is also a five-time UAAP champion coach with De La Salle. “Anyway, it’s not the result that I wanted but it’s not the end of the road for us.”

“This is just a big hump along the way, it will make the team better and stronger individually. I’ve been in the college game for the longest time, I know the ups and downs, but I can be proud of the program that we were able to establish here.”

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“We were one possession away from the finals and probably that’s destiny, God has other plans for us and has other plans for me.”

TAGS: Adamson University Soaring Falcons, Franz Pumaren, Jerom Lastimosa, Paul Desiderio, Sports, UAAP Season 81

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