The Adamson basketball program has secured the commitment of Filipino-American Adrian Punzalan, head coach Franz Pumaren confirmed to Rappler on Wednesday, September 23.
The 21-year-old Punzalan, who is currently based in Chicago, will undergo a one-year residency before suiting up for Adamson, presumably in UAAP Season 84.
Punzalan had previously committed to the UE Red Warriors in 2018, but then departed the school and has since worked on improving his game under Tumakbo Basketball, a group that provides pro-level training for Filipino-American athletes who aim to play college or professional basketball in the Philippines.
Punzalan, who stands at 6-foot-1 with a 77-inch wingspan, caught the eye of Pumaren, who has a history of developing college recruits into PBA draft picks.
"We didn’t even discuss about the incentives and everything," Pumaren said about the recruitment process.
"He just wants to improve his game. That is the bottomline."
Punzalan played high school basketball for Hoffman Estates HS in Illinois and can play "multiple spots in the point guard position," according to a Tumakbo scout and evaluator, who added he has "skills in creating shots and playmaking."
According to Pumaren, Punzalan "has a very long reach" because of his impressive wingspan.
"I think he'll help us defensively," explained the head coach, who is about to enter his fifth campaign with the Soaring Falcons. "His one year of residency will really help him polish his game."
Punzalan is also currently training in Chicago with current NBA two-way player Matt Mooney of the Cleveland Cavaliers and former Thailand national head coach Chris Daleo. Moreover, he’s going through a weekly workout regimen under NBA-level skills trainers Ryan Hartman and Zac Boster.
According to Daleo, Punzalan is a "high IQ player who knows his strengths. He has great feel for the game and offensive tempo. He's a solid defender."
"He can really shoot," added Pumaren, who is seeking his first UAAP title with Adamson. "I think he's quite aggressive going to the basket. There's still a lot of room for adjustment with his game. We need to polish it, in other words."
"But, the desire to become a better player is there."
In August, Pumaren successfully secured the commitment of Fil-Italian Roger Syvels delos Reyes, who will be eligible to play for Adamson in UAAP Season 83.
The Soaring Falcons are aiming to bounce back from their sixth-place finish in UAAP Season 82. – Rappler.com