Things are unraveling fast for Aldin Ayo and the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) men’s basketball team. Just days after CJ Cansino left—or was forced to leave from his perspective—more players are projected to leave the Tigers as they try to avoid missing a season due to a looming suspension of the team.
The school’s athletic director was also forced to resign, replaced by the guy he replaced, while coach Ayo turned philosophical in his statement on whether there was or wasn’t a bubble that defied government guidelines.
Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez, whose agency has been put in charge of all amateur sports in the country, questioned the wisdom of the team of holding a training bubble, blasting them for having a winning at all cost attitude.
The bubble was held last June, and last June there was so much uncertainty in the country, no thanks in part to the government’s response to the pandemic. Even during his first stint as PSC chairman, during the time of President Gloria Arroyo, Ramirez has always had a philosophical take on things. Maybe that’s the teacher in him.
And in this case, I agree with him. It’s good to have a winner’s mentality, but to put it above everything else erodes the essence of sports. I know collegiate basketball is all about the money, but wouldn’t it hurt to teach some values too and being a Catholic school, shouldn’t UST put premium on values.
If reports are true, the plan was for UST to hold the training bubble until December. That’s a six-month camp and I don’t think even the pros train that long. What were they aiming for? The Olympics?
So thanks to that, the Tigers will be looking at a suspension because this is just the latest violation among those who think they can get away with it at a time when the poor spend days in jail or have been beaten up for simply not wearing a mask. And if the government agencies want to make an example of UST, you can’t blame them.
And if you want to get one step further, the school has, in the past, taken a critical stand against the government. Will some of those who serve at the pleasure of the president take this chance too to hit back at the school?
I won’t be surprised if they will.
As for me, I hope UST, and the rest of the members of the UAAP, will take this chance to take Ramirez’s message to heart.
Values over winning.