MANILA - Adamson University head coach Franz Pumaren pulled no punches when discussing the state of college basketball in the Philippines, lamenting how the recruitment process has gone "out of control."
The multi-titled mentor, appearing on the "Coaches Unfiltered" podcast presented by SMART, expressed his pride in their ability to identify players with potential, as well as their player development program in Adamson.
"Our program, I think we're rock solid naman. Development of players, I guess 'yung na-develop ko can speak for itself," said Pumaren.
"'Yung ibang aspeto na lang -- doon kami natatalo eh," he added bluntly. "We know that for a fact, 'di ba."
Pumaren would later explain his sentiment, noting that the recruitment game has completely changed now, compared to how it was when he coached De La Salle University in the late 1990s to the 2000s.
"It's sad for me to say, but it's getting out of control eh," he said of college recruiting.
The coach recalled that he was once asked by a UAAP Board Representative about the "ideal allowance" for a student-athlete. Pumaren suggested that "eight to 10 thousand" is ideal, but he also pointed out that it was impossible to implement a rule capping such allowances.
"You think hindi mawawala 'yung mga ibang… supposed to be na 'goodwill' na binibigay?" he said. "So hindi na. Sabi ko, it's futile."
"It's a nice idea if everybody will follow that. Because if everybody will follow certain amount to be given to student-athletes, it’s gonna be fair eh to all the schools," he added. "Ang titignan diyan ng parents, titingnan ng student, who has the best basketball program?"
As it is, however, recruitment wars have made it so that a school's basketball program is now "secondary," said Pumaren.
Instead, the players and the parents are concerned about "what's in it" for them.
It's a development that clearly annoys Pumaren, as he feels that he has lost some players because of this.
"I don't know if the schools will react. Maybe I hit a nerve, but that's reality eh. It's an open secret," said Pumaren.
"Kagaya nga noong mga dinevelop kong players eh. Ginagamit eh, lumipat ng eskwela. Sa tingin po, lumipat 'yun because of that? Come on, who are you joking, 'di ba? 'Yun ang sad reality," he added.
Pumaren steered the Soaring Falcons to three straight Final 4 appearances from Seasons 79 to 81, but they managed just a 4-10 campaign in Season 82.
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