Tams want ace playmaker out

Barroca holed up in FEU chapel

Philippine Daily Inquirer

AT LEAST NOW, one question has already been answered regarding all the mystery about Mark Barroca.

He?s no longer missing.

But the controversy surrounding the Far Eastern University superstar guard is far from over as his teammates had reportedly met and decided that it would be best if the 5-foot-10 playmaker be removed from the Tamaraws? Final Four lineup.

The decision came before a team official described Barroca?s recent ?disappearance? as merely a disciplinary measure totally unrelated to game-fixing, the Inquirer learned yesterday.

However, Barroca, who is confirmed to be holed up in the school chapel, may yet see action in the Final Four when FEU, armed with the twice-to-beat advantage, plays UE for one of two championship slots.

?It?s a disciplinary measure; no, it?s not related to game fixing,? a Tamaraws team official, who spoke on condition of anonymity since he?s not authorized to speak on the matter, told the Inquirer Thursday.

UE coach Lawrence Chongson said the Warriors are prepared to play the Tamaraws whether or not Barroca suits up, adding that the whole distraction ?could be a ploy.?

?Too much is at stake for us to be concerned about one player,? Chongson said.

Barroca has been missing since the team?s Tuesday practice. Asked about his whereabouts, coach Glenn Capacio said: ??Di ko alam kung anung nangyari (I don?t know what happened). Siguro may pinuntahan (He may have gone somewhere).?

An official later confirmed FEU team captain JR Cawaling?s earlier statement that Barroca is staying in the school chapel. The Inquirer tried to check out the story yesterday but was told that no visitors are allowed inside the chapel at this time.

?It?s correct, he?s really in the chapel,? the official said of Barroca, who leads the Tamaraws in scoring with 12.7 points a game. ?There?s a room there. A priest has been counseling him. It?s also a time of reflection for him.?

?Barroca admitted that he hasn?t been playing well and he got too cocky,? he added. ?Sometimes he no longer listens to the coaching staff.?

The team, according to a reliable source who tipped off the Inquirer about Barroca?s absence in practices, had reportedly voted not to suit the heady cager for tomorrow?s game against UE. But higher school officials will still discuss the matter.

?We?re not sure if he?ll play or not,? the official said. ?It?s up to management. They?re still discussing it.?

FEU athletic director Mark Molina said the team will issue an official statement before the FEU-UE semifinal game at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.

Barroca scored eight points, all in the first quarter, in Saturday?s game where the Tamaraws blew an 18-point lead and lost to defending champion Ateneo, 74-73, in their battle for the No. 1 spot on the final day of eliminations.

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