Pumaren praises import for showing 'true character'


Posted at May 06 2014 04:43 PM | Updated as of May 07 2014 12:43 AM

Air 21's Wesley Witherspoon gestures after a three-pointer. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com

MANILA, Philippines – Air21 head coach Franz Pumaren praised import Wesley Witherspoon for responding to his challenge and putting together a big performance in Game 4 of the Express’ best-of-five semi-finals series against San Mig Coffee.

Witherspoon waxed hot from beyond the arc, making eight triples – part of a franchise-record 15 treys by Air21 – to finish with 21 points as the Express kept their PBA Commissioners Cup campaign going with a 94-91 victory and force a do-or-die game against the Mixers.

“I’ve been stressing to our import (what we lacked in our last two games) and he responded,” Pumaren told PBA.ph. “He accepted the challenge, and showed his true character.”

Witherspoon, for his part, said they were just having fun.

“The reason why we’re winning games is because we’re having fun,” he said. “We got away from that, we tried to be a serious team, and that’s not who we are.”

“We need to go out there and have fun every night,” he added.

Air21 now has a chance to nail its first-ever Finals berth on Wednesday, but Witherspoon said the pressure is on the Mixers, and not on them.

“Aside from everybody in the Air21 locker room, nobody else thought that we’ll be here. We’re hungry right now,” he said.

Witherspoon is planning to treat Game 5 as just “another game” so as not to put undue pressure on themselves.

“It’s another game. It’s all that is. We can’t put pressure on ourselves. We can’t think of it as a Game 5,” he said.