Stern Pumaren insists ‘no superstar syndrome’ in Adamson

Naveen Ganglani
Stern Pumaren insists ‘no superstar syndrome’ in Adamson
Under Pumaren's system in Adamson, players have to earn their minutes

MANILA, Philippines – JD Tungcab was one of the most promising rookies last UAAP Season. On Wednesday, October 5, he didn’t play a single minute against the UST Growling Tigers. 

Tungcab, who wasn’t suffering from an injury or school-related issue, was simply not inserted into the game by Adamson head coach Franz Pumaren.

“Actually there’s no reason for benching him. He’s just not playing well. That’s the bottom line,” Pumaren told the media after the Falcons’ win over UST. Adamson ended its first round campaign with a 4-3 record, in contention for one of the Final Four spots.

“I think some of the guys here, they know me very well; you earn your minutes under me.”

Tungcab has been somewhat disappointing in UAAP Season 79. Expected to be one of the Falcons’ best players, his minutes had been decreasing after underwhelming performances, particularly on the defensive end. 

In Adamson’s last match – a loss to UE – Tungcab finished with 5 points in 10.2 minutes, going -7 during that span.

“Except for the last 3 guys in my line-up, I normally give everybody a chance to play,” said Pumaren. “So that’s why I’ve been telling them, ‘If the door is open, might as well walk in and close the door.’ It’s a fact of life: if you don’t play well, the next guy behind you will get the spot.”

Pumaren was complimentary of new player Jonathan Espeleta, who actually was a late insertion for Adamson’s line-up this year. Against the Growling Tigers, Espeleta scored 9 points and grabbed 4 boards in only 11.8 minutes.

“In fairness to Espeleta, he’s been playing well,” said Pumaren. 

“I don’t think everybody knows he was the last guy that made the line-up. In fact I only decided to put him in the line-up, I think, 5 days before the opening, but right now he’s proving himself that he deserves to be in the line-up. In fact, he’s even the one starting.”

The Falcons were led by the 16 points and 25 boards of big man Papi Sarr, while shooters Rob Manalang and Jerrick Ahanmisi combined for 21 in the win. But despite the trio being the team’s consistent contributors this season, Pumaren still insists that “There’s no superstar syndrome in my team.” –

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