He maybe less heralded among his fellow foreign student-athletes set to see action in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tourney, but Adamson U center Pape Sarr doesn’t [[[[, keeping his focus on helping the Soaring Falcons reach new heights.
With the entry of highly-touted Ben Mbala to powerhouse La Salle and the continuous stint of Alfred Aroga at title contender National U, the 6-foot-7 Sarr flies under the radar among the league’s fans but he is expected to lead the charge of Adamson U under first-year mentor Franz Pumaren.
“I don’t need to compare myself to anybody. Because I’m just Papi Sarr and there’s no other Papi Sarr. I’m special,” said the Cameroonian big man, confident he can go toe-to-toe against the league’s celebrated imports that also include Prince Orizu of defending champion Far Eastern U, Ateneo’s Chibueze Ikeh and William Afoakwah of host University of Santo Tomas.
After a solid personal debut last year when he averaged 14.9 points and 13.4 rebounds, Sarr could be in for a better performance this year, having sharpened his skills with former La Salle star Don Allado and former national team player Tonichi Yturri, who are serving as big man coaches for the Soaring Falcons.
“I’m so excited to play this season with coach Franz. There’s a lot of change and there’s also a lot of improvement like we now have a big man coach. We have everything now,” Sarr said.
How far Sarr and the rest of the Soaring Falcons have improved under Pumaren will be known on Sunday when they take on the Fighting Maroons of the University of the Philippines at the Smart-Araneta Colisuem.
“I don’t want to say anything now. I just want to go and play,” said Sarr. “I’m confident with what I do and what we do in our practice, with my skills and everything that I can do for my teammates and the team.
“Everything will be (proven) on the court. People will judge me on how I perform inside the court. I don’t care about any other big men,” he concluded. – By Jerome Lagunzad
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