Sorsogon or bust | Inquirer Sports

Sorsogon or bust

Tigers threatened with allowance cut during out-of-town training; ‘bubble’ cost P3 million

Signs that the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers’ practice “bubble” in Sorsogon province would pop began showing even before CJ Cansino bolted the team, as players were set to find their way back to Manila after encountering lousy conditions while working hard in training.

And, the Inquirer learned on Wednesday, one of the managers of the team threatened to cut players’ allowances and would basically be left to their own devices “during their absence at Sorsogon practice.”


From a parent

The manager was not identified by the source who provided the Inquirer a copy of the text message sent to at least one player’s parent.

“We’re sorry to inform you that the managers will cut off the monthly allowance of the players during their absence at Sorsogon practice,” the text message read. “Those who come home and wishes (sic) to come back, we won’t shoulder your travel expenses, plane tickets, coordination with airline companies, securing travel documents with the PNP (Philippine National Police) and LGU (local government unit). These will all be on your account.”


The manager who wrote the message also questioned the commitment of the players when they asked to go home.

“We the managers won’t bother to force you, but we’re loosing (sic) patience. If you guys don’t care, why should we. You may have to look for a new group of managers,” the message said. “Sorry to be blatant. We can’t win the [UAAP] championship with this kind of player’s attitude.”

Deplorable conditions

The text message supposedly coming from the managers also said that the group has spent more than P3 million to fund the bubble training and that “business is bad. We spent so much for you guys to get there, now after a short while you want to go home. Please bear in mind that these are (sic) hard earned money.

“’Di namin pinupulot ang pera (Money doesn’t grow on trees).”

Several pla­yers had wanted to go home due to apparent deplorable conditions at the Sorsogon training bubble.

Cansino shared a group chat among team members on Twitter early on Wednesday as players gave accounts on how they were treated while inside the bubble, which is a gym reportedly owned by UST coach Aldin Ayo in his hometown in Sorsogon. Cansino has since deleted the tweets, though several media outlets have already grabbed screen shots of those.

The source who provided the Inquirer with the manager’s text message also forwarded the same screenshots of the group chat.


Bad food

Cansino, who has since transferred to the University of the Philippines, was the first to share his experience, saying the food served was distasteful. He said that some of his teammates had resorted to ordering fast food, while others became ill.

Bismarck Lina supported Cansino’s statement, adding that the meals were too oily and at times tasteless.

One statement coming from Ira Bataller said that those who organized the bubble even blamed the players for getting ill.

William “Butch” Ramirez, the Philippine Sports Commission chair who is part of the tripartite agency investigating the UST bubble, had said in an Inquirer report on Monday that he was sure that the breach in quarantine protocols was authorized because it was funded to a huge extent.

Santo Tomas management met with representatives of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on Wednesday and a separate Inquirer source said that government officials were very disappointed and angry during the meeting.

A UAAP school that the Inquirer talked to said that its board representative has yet to receive a report of UST’s official finding after its internal probe. even as Fr. Jannel Abogado stepped down from his post as UST athletic director on Wednesday morning, with the school appointing Fr. Ermito de Sagon as his replacement.

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