University of Santo Tomas (UST) finally broke its silence on Sunday over the alleged breach of quarantine protocols by its men’s basketball team, the Growling Tigers, and though the statement didn’t really shed light on the matter, the school assured the public that it will do everything to cleanse its ranks.
But the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), through its Chair William “Butch” Ramirez, believes that it is not only UST which has violated quarantine protocols, as reports have come in to the government sports agency that several schools—in several sports—have been doing the same.
“This is not just [happening] in UST,” Ramirez told the Inquirer over the phone on Sunday as his agency is preparing every evidence that has come its way in the wake of the reported quarantine breach of the Tigers in coach Aldin Ayo’s hometown in Sorsogon province. “The PSC will really step into this, even if we don’t have the police power.
“The [Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases] has police powers, and we will see how it will deal with these violations.”
Santo Tomas, the statement said, will be opening its own prove on the allegations, even as Ramirez said that it is not only Ayo who will be answerable here, but even team management.
“We all know that the [UST] team has to be funded to go there, to practice, to eat, etc.,” Ramirez said. “If the alumni funded that, what kind of virtues did they learn [at UST] for them to violate protocols?”
Ramirez, also an academic, asked the very values that coaches—and the schools—who blatantly violate health standards, are preaching.
“This is deep,” Ramirez said. “They are willing to spend so much just to win games, I don’t think that’s the right value to instill in our student-athletes. I think these schools need to review their mission and vision. There are greater things than winning games.”
Rebo Saguisag, the University Athletic Association of the Philippines’ executive director, said that UST had asked to be excused from the proceedings as it opens an internal probe on the matter.
The controversy started over the weekend when CJ Cansino, an Ayo protege, left the squad to sign with the University of the Philippines, claiming that he got homesick in the UST bubble in Sorsogon.
It was a bitter parting of ways between Ayo and Cansino, and the Inquirer learned on Sunday that at least two more players, counting one very exciting sophomore, are bolting camp to join other schools in other leagues. This was disclosed by a source who refused to be identified.
The joint administrative order group, which the Games and Amusements Board and the PSC are also part of, and the UAAP agreed to reconvene on Wednesday afternoon, where UST is expected to deliver its findings from its internal probe.
Cansino, for his part, did not confirm nor deny the existence of a “training bubble,” he said instead that he wanted to move forward and start with his new “new family,” the Maroons. A videotape of their practice, which was undated, was also released, with the PSC able to obtain a copy.
The 20-year-old guard said he was expelled from the team by Ayo, but was not given an explanation aside from a terse “defiance of authority.”
Multiple reports said Cansino wanted to leave the team’s training to visit his family but wasn’t allowed to do so.
In a pair of interviews, Cansino mentioned that his mental health has taken hits over the events that have transpired in the past weeks.
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