Franz Pumaren, one of the most-heralded contemporary college coaches, will finally make his Philippine Basketball Association head coaching debut next season.
Pumaren, who led the De La Salle Green Archers to five UAAP titles, is expected to sign a contract on Tuesday with Shopinas.com, the league’s newest franchise. The first dot-com company in the PBA, the Lina-owned Shopinas.com will take over the old Barako Bull franchise.
“He will sign a three-year contract tomorrow (Tuesday),” Shopinas.com team manager Jovie Saddul told InterAKTV.
Saddul said Pumaren will be given a free hand in choosing players for the team.
“We will build the team with young players and it’s up to coach Franz who he will get,” added Saddul. “I haven’t taken a look at the roster yet, but most of the players we’ve acquired from Barako have expiring contracts.”
Pumaren, who was a member of San Miguel Beer’s 1989 Grand Slam team, said that he’s excited to take his coaching talents to the pro league.
“I love challenges,” he said. “I would have accepted offers before, matagal na pero I have to concentrate on other things first. This will be a new challenge for me.”
After leaving La Salle in 2009, Pumaren concentrated on his political career.
Pumaren won four straight UAAP championships after taking over La Salle in 1998, helping establish a Green Archers dynasty. He led La Salle to its last UAAP title in 2007. The Green Archers also won the men’s basketball tournament in 2004, but were forced to vacate their title after it was discovered that some members of the team were ineligible to compete in the UAAP.
Apart coaching La Salle, Pumaren also helmed the Philippine national youth team in 2008. He had previously served as an assistant coach to Norman Black with Mobiline and Sta. Lucia in the PBA.
With his new job at Shopinas.com, Franz will become the third member of the Pumaren family to become a PBA head coach.
His dad, Filomeno Pumaren, was the first coach of Gilbey’s Gin, the precursor to the Ginebra franchise, in the 1979 PBA season. The elder Pumaren would eventually became a long-time assistant coach for San Miguel, where Franz would play for most of his career.
Franz’s eldest brother, Derick, won back-to-back titles with Sunkist in 1995, falling just short of a rare Grand Slam.