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‘We just have to play smart,’ reminds Pumaren as Adamson faces La Salle

Adamson coach Franz Pumaren remains positive even after the Soaring Falcons suffered a heartbreaking loss to Ateneo last Wednesday.

The San Marcelino five controlled the pace for much of the game, but sputtered in the final canto to surrender the twice-to-beat advantage to the Blue Eagles and set a Final Four date with top seed La Salle.

“We veered away from what we’re supposed to do,” he said. “That’s a sign of a very young team. It’s a new situation for our guys, but I think we’ll be okay.”

The veteran mentor and his crew will take on the Green Archers on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena, with Adamson — backed by Akari Sports — needing to beat La Salle twice in a row to make it to the championship round.

The Archers have lost only once in 14 games in UAAP Season 79.

Pumaren, though, is unfazed.

“We just have to accept the challenge. We just have to prepare,” he said as the team will bank on a total team effort to neutralize the uber-talented La Salle side.

Papi Sarr, who finished second to the Archers’ Ben Mbala in the MVP race, will man the frontline, while the Falcons’ 1-2 backcourt punch in Rob Manalang and Jerrick Ahanmisi will be severly tested.

For Pumaren, the secret to keeping in step the favorites is simple: play smart.

“I don’t think anybody expected us to be here,” he said. “Hopefully, we can pull some surprises. We just have to play smart.”

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