Everybody’s waiting for verdict on UST

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    UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas officials on Tuesday presented their findings on the “bubble” held by the Growling Tigers at the hometown of coach Aldin Ayo in Capuy, Sorsogon City since mid-June but no verdict has been handed down the COVID-19 task force and the UAAP, for now.

    Games and Amusements Board chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra yesterday said it’s “unfair” to come up with hasty a decision because UST had just presented its findings to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ panel made up of the GAB, Department of Health, Philippine Sports Commission, and Commission on Higher Education.

    UST legal counsel Atty. Alfonso Verzosa and legal coordinator Atty. Elgin Perez presented the results of the probe held by a fact-finding committee created by the school during the meeting but the results were not immediately released to the media.

    National University athletic director Rustico “Otie” Camangian also showed up in the meeting and explained the reported workouts by the school’s women’s volleyball squad at their Sampaloc and Laguna campuses.

    The two schools are under the microscope over accusations of breaching the government’s stringent health protocols. At least UAAP one coach has called for sanctions against UST.

    “The University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) acknowledges the efforts of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) and National University (NU) in participating at the meeting requested by PSC, GAB and DOH concerning compliance with government-issued guidelines and protocols on the conduct of school and athletic activities during the community quarantine,” the UAAP said in a statement.

    “A copy of the report from UST concerning its basketball team was submitted to the concerned government agencies. UST also reported that UAAP was likewise given a copy. NU answered queries on the incident regarding its volleyball teams and will likewise provide a report to the UAAP.”

    Aside from Mitra, also present during the meeting were DOH representative Rodley Carza, PSC national training director Marc Velasco, and CHED commissioner Prospero De Vera III and executive director Atty. Cindy Jaro.

    Mitra told Malaya-Business Insight that it will be unfair to the parties if and when a decision would be promptly handed out.

    UAAP executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag and 83rd season president Emmanuel Calanog of La Salle also attend the meeting.

    The PSC said the IATF has yet to act on the incident since it was only the CHED and DOH which has received the full report of UST. No explanation was given by UST on why the PSC was not given a copy of the report.

    “The Sports JAO (Joint Administrative Order on the resumption of sports and physical activities) agencies, namely PSC, GAB and DOH met this afternoon and discussed the details of issues raised against the National University and University of Sto. Tomas, which both allegedly trained despite quarantine rules. NU was present and gave its statement and committed to cooperate with any government inquiry on the matter. They also answered clarificatory questions from government agencies present,” the PSC said in a statement.

    “With regards to the issue raised against UST, the PSC cannot comment at the moment.

    UST submitted their report only to CHED and DOH. DOH, PSC, GAB and CHED will discuss their findings and possible actions on the next meeting. No definite date has been set for the meeting, but it is planned for this week.”

    The UAAP Board of Managing Directors convenes today to review the submitted reports by UST and NU, while the IATF panel has yet to announce when it will meet with UAAP, UST, and NU officials anew.

    After getting caught in the eye of the storm, UST Institute of Physical Education and Athletics (IPEA) director Fr. Jannel Abogado, OP, resigned last Aug. 25 and was replaced by Fr. Ermito de Sagon.

    The Tigers’ bubble was pricked when former skipper CJ Cansino said he was booted out of the team due to “defiance of authority” last Aug. 21.

    Cansino, who transferred to University of the Philippines, asked Ayo if he and his teammates could return to Manila but that led to a rift and his stunning exit from the team.

    Ayo, who is still tightlipped on the Sorsogon bubble, and his players reportedly returned to Manila last Aug. 26.

    It was reported that part of the P3 million budget earmarked for the Sorsogon bubble was allegedly used to upgrade the ABC (Ayo Basketball Camp) Ideas Gym, reportedly owned by Ayo.

    Photos and videos that have been deleted showed UST players playing allegedly at the ABC Gym.

    A damning copy of a waiver that the players and their parents or legal guardians signed to be able to join the training camp has also surfaced online.

    Cansino, 20, revealed that the Tigers suffered in Sorsogon, while big man Ira Bataller, who has left the squad, also claimed he suffered from abdominal pain during the Sorsogon bubble, but the coaches ignored his condition.