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Why Franz Pumaren might retire from coaching

Multi-titled UAAP mentor Franz Pumaren confirmed to Rappler on Tuesday, January 12, that he was seriously considering retiring from coaching basketball.

Pumaren, whose coaching career started with De La Salle University back in 1998, shared a statement saying: “Actually, I have been thinking about retirement. Not because the (UAAP) season has been cancelled, but because of this pandemic.”

He added: “Since we were on community quarantine, I realized I need to focus more on what needs to be done in the city.”

The 56-year-old Pumaren is a councilor for 3rd District of Quezon City. He is also the chairperson for the Committee on Laws, Rules, and Internal Government, while serving as Majority Floor Leader.

Sources close to Pumaren, who spoke to Rappler under the condition of anonymity, said they expected the former PBA champion player to run for higher office in the upcoming elections. This was the reason for his decision to move on from basketball.

A “trusted friend and ally” of Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte and Vice Mayor Gian Sotto, Pumaren was expected to run for congress, sources said.

“To tell you honestly, basketball right now is the last thing on his mind,” Rappler was told of Pumaren’s current mindset.

“His main focus is to deliver basic services to his constituents.” Sources also told Rappler that there was “strong clamor” for Pumaren to run for higher office following his work in procuring COVID-19 vaccines for Quezon City.

Resolution PR21CC-687, which was introduced by the councilor, was recently approved to allocate one billion pesos from Quezon City’s budget in an agreement between the vaccine producer AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals and the local government unit.

Sources said the head coach now found political work more fulfilling than coaching.

Pumaren also confirmed to Rappler that his contract with Adamson University, where he has been the head coach of the Soaring Falcons basketball program, has ended.

However, he was still being recognized for his services to the team, which included attaining the recent commitment of new Fil-foreign recruits like Adrian Punzalan, Roger Delos Reyes, and Andrei Abellera.

Barring a last-minute change of heart to no longer run for higher office, it was likely Pumaren would not return for a fifth campaign with Adamson.

Filing for candidacies in the 2022 elections would be in October, which would be right in the middle of the next UAAP basketball season, assuming the collegiate league returns following the cancellation of Season 83.

If Pumaren is to call it a career, he would leave the UAAP with one of college basketball’s most distinguished resumes.

From 1998-2009, Pumaren led La Salle to 5 men’s basketball titles and one which was taken back and rewarded to FEU, and 3 other finals appearances.

When he took over the Soaring Falcons’ head coaching position in 2015, Adamson was coming off its second consecutive last-place finish and 4 consecutive seasons of missing the Final Four.

With Pumaren at the helm, the Soaring Falcons barged into 3 Final Four appearances in 4 years, including two third-place finishes. – Rappler.com