Football is the number one sport in the world, which is one of the reasons why it is called a universal sport. It is a different sport; it is unique in that players don’t use hands except for the goalkeeper.
There is nothing like the passion you get when you see the crowd get crazy or when you see players get crazy when they score a goal that took them more than an hour to get. Sometimes after 90 to 100 minutes of play neither team could get a goal. The game is really hard to play, and the rules are different. It is unique in that the passion is necessarily in the game and without it, players cannot play very well.
Bridging into football
I started playing basketball before football. I consider myself a late bloomer in football since I started playing when I was 12 while I was playing basketball at 10 years old. I was really drawn to both sports, but the challenge of basketball posed was kind of too easy since I played many sports when I was much younger.
Football was different; the game kept me interested, and my enthusiasm did not die. I stayed in football because it gave me another chance in sports. After high school, I quit sports since the time of the 70s were drugs, drinks and everything in between.
After high school I didn’t take any entrance exam to enter any college because I had no plans to study until football in UP challenged me to enter college. My older brother back then was playing for the older club of UP, and they were looking players for the UAAP. Since my brother saw me throw my life away, he asked me to play. I played, and I ended up loving and playing the sport more than ever. That’s why I’m still here.
In 1981 I applied in La Salle Zobel. I only applied as coach, but they made me the athletic director. I started the school’s whole varsity program.
In 1987, DLSU was looking for a new coach since the school had problems with coaches during that time. I received a job offer, and I gladly took it without a blink of the eyelash. I took it because I saw the collegiate level as a new challenge.
I wanted to instill my type of discipline in the collegiate ranks since many colleges, not just La Salle, were loose when it came to discipline, protocols and all. I’m glad that the universities, since my first year in the UAAP, followed me.
Teams started to follow the style of La Salle—arriving an hour before a game. I never wanted to arrive later because players need more warm-ups, and they have to prepare themselves mentally. When you come in late, the game is different. I’m glad that I’m a pioneer of a few things.
First, I keep treat my team as family. I don’t force my training. I do my training based on what I have, and I adjust my men based on their strengths and tactical strategies. I do not like coaches who base plays by the book. This is what usually happens when you don’t have the things to do it.
My philosophy with the DLSU team, with the technical directors, and with my coaches is that in instances when you don’t have the materials, you have to use tactics that capitalize on the materials you have.
Perspective on DLSU teams
When you hit to the collegiate level, it is a different thing because players come from different schools, and they all have different football backgrounds.
In my years of coaching, I have seen that high school background plays a big role on a player’s skills and qualities. High school training is, however, far from collegiate, which is far from the club system. When players enter my team as rookies, some of them get a culture shocked especially the girl, since the environment is different, and I don’t like “baby-ing” players.
The intensity is higher in college, and you need more knowledge and skills. Coaches, however, can only do so much. When you go to the collegiate level, you are at a senior level. I always tell my players that they are at the top level of football in the country so they won’t become complacent. Competition over the past few years has become more intense. You cannot leave your laurels alone; you need to improve yourself every single day, or else you will be left behind.
I am proud to say that I’ve won all I need—nationals, locals and all of it. Coaching is actually very hard, but in my 31 years of coaching, we have consistently remained on top. That’s a lot to ask for already. I don’t want my value to go down not for anything else but for myself.
I like to look at the mirror every morning like myself and say, “Am I still up to it?” I have coached for 31 years, and I can still do it because I enter something with a prepared heart. Why will I do something half-heartedly? You try to do your best. Until now I still like to make myself better and learn the new tricks, and training methods. I continue to learn from the younger coaches.
I look around and watch much football, but when I watch, I don’t watch it as a fan. I watch the game as a student of the sport. When you watch games, don’t watch it as fans. In watching, know how teams got their goals and analyze. When you analyze, you’ll learn more and you’ll understand more. That’s my thought on studying.
Perspective in life
I’m the most pasaway employee of La Salle. This is how I was, and I’ve never tried to copy and emulate anyone. What I emulate is the belief and the principles of life, but I do things my own way. People always tell my siblings before that, “You [I] always did things on your [my] own.”
Why not? I’m Hans. You know what I’m saying? You have your name, and that is your own identity. I don’t have to be my dad. I mean, I follow his principles along with my mom’s, but I’m Hans.
You gave me name, and I have to be me. How can I be Hans when I’m following someone else? Example, I’m Hans and I have to follow Franz Pumaren? Then I must change my name to Franz right? I like to have some people follow me rather than I follow them. Of course I don’t want them to follow my pasaway and being hard-headed.
I want to have an impact on my players. My greatest reward is to see my players succeed in life. To hear that I influenced these players, who are now 40 years old and above, is one of the things I cherish the most. The discipline I taught them is something I want them to bring on to their families.
It’s not the championships I’ve won, its way beyond that already. I don’t do things so people could recognize me. I’m not in showbiz, and I’m a coach. I don’t want to be anything else. I’m a coach. That is my job, and that is what I’m going to do until I retire.