Adamson Falcon Pappi Saar forces his way through a phalanx of defenders led by FEU Tam Prince Orizu in their UAAP game Sunday at the Mall of Asia. The Tamaraws won, 82-56, to force a playoff with La Salle for the last semis slot tomorrow.
Joven Cagande
UAAP men’s Final Four: Franz Pumaren uses break to rest, recharge Falcons
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - November 20, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Adamson coach Franz Pumaren hopes to capitalize on their break before the No. 2 Falcons’ upcoming UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball Final Four duel with third-ranked University of the Philippines to not only prepare thoroughly for the Maroons but also get the injured stars Sean Manganti and Jerrick Ahanmisi fit again for action.

“I think it works to our advantage that we have one week to prepare for the Final Four. Hopefully by that time, they’ll be okay,” said Pumaren ahead of Saturday’s F4 action.

The multi-titled coach, whose team has secured No. 2 seeding in the semis early, had the luxury of resting Manganti and Ahanmisi, who are down with ankle injury and fever/sore throat, respectively, in their no-bearing elims game against Far Eastern last Sunday.

The pressure-free and undermanned Falcons yielded that match, 56-82, allowing the Tams to force a playoff for the fourth and last F4 spot with La Salle.

“We’re doing an aggressive treatment with regards to the injury of Sean, same thing with Jerrick, we’re doing what we can to fast-track his recovery,” said Pumaren.

The Falcons mentor quickly defended the duo from insinuations they were feigning injury and the team’s decision to sit them out in a game that has no implication for them.

“If your two top players, top gunners aren’t playing, it’s gonna be difficult on our part. We’re not only dependent on them in scoring but also in creating situations and defending well. Things like that, it happens,” said Pumaren, who challenged doubters to “go to the hospital and check” if they want to validate the two’s medical status.

“Given that scenario, I don’t think any coach for that matter wlll force the issue eh. Any team or any school, I don’t think you would push your injured players. They’re not 100 percent, why push them?” he said.

The twice-to-beat Falcons brace for war with the Maroons, who intend to make the most of their first F4 stint in 21 years to make further gains.

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