MANILA, Philippines – Adamson University head coach Franz Pumaren has two recruits from San Jose, California, who are expected to debut in the 2017 season of the UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
The duo are Kurt Lojera and Tyrus Hill, 20-year-old athletes who played AAU basketball together in the United States and transferred from their colleges to join a Soaring Falcons team that is expected to change a losing culture under their experienced new head coach.
Hill, a 6-foot-4 Filipino-American, played for Overfelt High School while Lojera, 6-foot-1, is a pure Filipino student-athlete who moved to the US from the Philippines when he was a kid and played for Lincoln High School.
Hill and Lojera also enrolled in De Anza College and Foothill College, respectively.
Both guys initially planned to try out for De La Salle University but eventually landed in Adamson. Since the two are college transferees, they will have to serve a year of residency in 2016 due to the UAAP’s rules for transferring students.
“I like it to be honest,” Hill said about transitioning to Manila. “When I first came out here, my first mission was seeing the streets and how people were just like on the streets – I wanted to go home right away.
First. pic.twitter.com/vQJwqanhiD— Naveen Ganglani (@naveenganglani) August 17, 2016
“But it took me probably like a couple of days and after that, I’ve since fallen in love with the Philippines. To be honest, I actually don’t want to go back home.”
Second. pic.twitter.com/EoqpTNYrN6— Naveen Ganglani (@naveenganglani) August 17, 2016
Hill adds that the food in the Philippines has been a huge selling point, with adobo and sinigang as his favorite dishes.
Lojera noted that the two are staying at an apartment near the university, and one of the difficulties of living in the country has been getting accustomed to the weather.
“That, too,” he said, when was asked about the traffic.
Not long after getting hired by the Soaring Falcons last December, Pumaren flew to California to find recruits. The 5-time UAAP champion (6 if you count the title that was taken away from La Salle in 2004) is returning to collegiate coaching for the first time since his last season with the Green Archers back in 2009.
“I feel like we’re really blessed to have him,” Lojera said about the 52-year-old Pumaren.
“From what I heard, since’s he’s like a well-known coach, we’re kind of blessed. Thank god we came out at the right time,” added Hill.
The two have plans of eventually joining the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), but their current goal is to help Adamson University win a UAAP men’s basketball championship.
“The game here is actually very physical. It’s not really on the mental side, it’s more on the how physical can you get and how mentally tough you are,” Lojera said about the difference in playing styles between the US and Philippines.
“Don’t let people get in your head.” – Rappler.com