MANILA, Philippines - Franz Pumaren, tapped to coach a team of La Salle stars in their "Blue vs Green: Dream Game 2012" match against Ateneo on Feb. 5 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, sees the goodwill game as a typical duel between college basketball's most storied rivals.
"There's no such thing as an exhibition game for La Salle and Ateneo," said coach Franz Pumaren as he looks forward to the event jointly put up by the Philippine Basketball Association and Mastermind Entertainment for the benefit of young cancer patients of the Philippine Children's Medical Center.
While expecting an intense and competitive showdown on the court that characterizes every DLSU-AdMU meeting, Pumaren relishes the thought of playing their arch rivals for a good cause this time.
"It's always a pleasure to play in a fund-raising game, especially if it’s meant to generate funds for cancer patients," said Pumaren, who was part of the first batch of Green Archers who suited up for La Salle's debut season in the UAAP in 1986.
Pumaren's "green gang" features a guard-heavy crew in Mac Cardona, JV Casio, Joseph Yeo, Mike Cortez, TY Tang, RenRen Ritualo, and Ryan Arana, who will utilize their agility against Ateneo's frontliners Japeth Aguilar, Enrico Villanueva, Noy Baclao, Doug Kramer, and Rabeh Al-Hussaini.
"They're obviously bigger than us, especially in terms of their frontline," Pumaren, the current Shopinas.com mentor, said. "But we hope to offset that advantage with our speed and quickness."
Manning the post for the Archers are Don Allado, Rico Maierhoffer and bangers Carlo Sharma and Jerwin Gaco. Completing the roster are Willie Wilson and Brian Ilad.
Current Ateneo mentor Norman Black will call the shots for the Blue Eagles, whose line-up also include L.A. Tenorio, Larry Fonacier, J.C. Intal, Wesley Gonzales, Magnum Membrere, Eric Salamat, Rich Alvarez, and latest addition, Paolo Bugia.
This will be the second time for the alumni of Ateneo and La Salle to take the court for a cause. In 2008, the Eagles and Archers battled to a 90-90 standoff in an exhibition game that raised P2 million for the PBA Players Education Trust Fund.
This year's beneficiary, the PCMC, is the only institution in Manila that has a cancer and hematology center for kids, and averaged 300 children patients daily.