MANILA, Philippines – His last name is no stranger when it comes to competitive basketball and Franz Pumaren hopes to bring his magic in the PBA with the Shopinas.com Clickers come October 2.
Franz has proven his coaching prowess. Among the biggest accomplishments he has under his belt include that of giving the De La Salle University Green Archers multiple UAAP championships during his prime.
Pumaren, a many time member of the PH national team back in the Ron Jacobs era, takes a new step as far as his coaching career is concerned by returning to the PBA not as a player but as the designated head coach for PBA newcomer Shopinas.com. Shopinas.com took over the old Barako Bull franchise.
Franz has been given a three-year contract as well as the free hand to choose the players that will make up the team. This early, indications are that Pumaren is looking at his former players to make up the team, he hopes to build around shooter Renren Ritualo.
A former Archer himself and a many time member of the championship teams of San Miguel Beer, Pumaren has already chosen his coaching staff, familiar faces that have been with him in his past coaching jobs. They are Jack Santiago, Tonichi Yturri and Cholo Villanueva.
To refresh your memory on Franz’ success, he guided the DLSU Archers to four straight championships since he took over the coaching chores in 1998 and another one in 2007. Pumaren likewise helped DLSU win the title in 2004 but the discovery of ineligible players forced the Green Archers to surrender the crown to FEU.
Among the familiar players who have played for him at DLSU include Mike Cortez and Willy Wilson (Ginebra), Joseph Yeo and Carlo Sharma (Petron), Mac Cardona (Meralco), JV Casio (Powerade), TY Tang and Ryan Arana (Rain or Shine), Rico Maierhofer and Jerwin Gaco (B-Meg).
Though unofficial, the Shopinas.com coaching staff reportedly extended an invitation to certain players. During their practice yesterday, only the following were in attendance: Mark Andaya, Mark Canlas, Marvin Cruz, Mark Cagoco, Dennis Daa, Chad Alonzo, Ogie Menor, Bam Gamalinda, Khasim Mirza, Paolo Hubalde, Jojo Duncil, RJ Jazul, Gio Ciriacruz, Angel Raymundo, Magi Sison, Pong Escobal, JR Aquino and Hiram Bagatsing.
Though it wasn’t mentioned, Pumaren revealed that there were still more players invited who didn’t attend, including Ritualo. Chances are these included some former Archers like Adonis Sta. Maria, Manny Ramos, Mike Gavino, Mac Cuan, and Junjun Cabatu.
If you look at the attendance, their first pick Mark Barocca was not included in the list. It seems that Barocca is now with B-Meg for a player that has not yet been officially made.
So officially, Shopinas.com will have only Sison and Cagoco as their official rookies unless Franz picks one up from the rookie free agents who will not be signed up by other PBA teams.
Franz is no stranger to pressure and has been known to be a great motivator to his players. He has proven this during his UAAP stint, particularly in 2007 when they surprised the highly favored Ateneo Blue Eagles for the UAAP crown.
The question is, can he still do it again in the PBA with the Shopinas.com Clickers? Apparently young Shopinas.com Sheila and Bertha Lina believe so.
With former LaSallians backing up a multi-titled DLSU champion coach, it may not be surprising to see a team made mostly of green-blooded LaSallians once Shopinas.com makes it official debut on October 2.
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