Pumaren, La Salle fulfill goal after PBA D-League title win
MANILA, Philippines—Head coach Derrick Pumaren wanted La Salle to gain more than just exposure when it joined the PBA D-League.
Pumaren ended up getting what he wanted after the Green Archers won the championship in the Aspirants’ Cup on Wednesday.
“We joined this tournament to be a better team. Also, not just to get better, but to be a championship-caliber team,” Pumaren said after their 91-78 victory over Marinerong Pilipino in Game 3 of the finals.
The Archers were up comfortably at the start of the fourth period but had to fight off a comeback bid by the Skippers down the stretch.
The endgame gave La Salle a flashback from a few months ago when they fumbled a 14-point lead against the University of the Philippines in UAAP Season 84 Final Four.
Only this time, the Archers showed composure to hold on to the victory.
“We fell short against UP. We won the first game in that but did not close out. This is all part of the program and we will work on it. We will really focus on closing out games,” Pumaren said.
But things will also be different for La Salle heading into the new UAAP season with the departure of Justine Baltazar and Kurt Lojera.
The Archers will try to fill those holes with all-around threat Kevin Quiambao, who recently turned heads when he made his Gilas Pilipinas debut in the third window of the Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers.
But Pumaren said La Salle won’t be relying too much on Quiambao as it will aim to be team-oriented.
“It’s not gonna be Kevin’s team. It’s going to be more of a team effort but definitely, Kevin will be a vital factor heading in the UAAP.”
The Green Archers will go on a short break before leaving for Japan on September 10 as part of their UAAP buildup.