Maroons did a UST? Perasol says no!

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    KEEPING something under its hat? Far from it.

    University of the Philippines coach Bo Perasol insisted his charges were adhering to the government’s stringent COVID-19 health protocols after video clips of the team allegedly training at his home in Silang, Cavite in late July was reportedly submitted to the UAAP Board of Managing Directors.

    Perasol vehemently denied the accusation and said it was only the Fighting Maroons’ star Nigerian center and former MVP Bright Akhuetie who visited his house and did a shooting drill with him and his nephew, who served as “ball boy.”

    He added that no other UP player was there, with Perasol even sharing a photo of the 6-foot-8 Akhuetie in a free-throw stance dated Aug. 1, the same day the squad confirmed the transfer of former National University Bullpup standouts Carl Tamayo and Gerry Abadiano.

    “Anybody can investigate it,” Perasol told Malaya-Business Insight yesterday.

    “As long as one person shooting around is not a violation, we did not violate any rule,” he added.

    The UAAP Board and the athletic directors of the eight schools held a meeting yesterday to tackle the alleged bubble training held by University of Santo Tomas at the hometown of coach Aldin Ayo in Capuy, Sorsogon City, and the workouts done by the National University women’s volleyball squad at its Sampaloc and Laguna campuses.

    Allegations that the Maroons held a training camp should explain part of the UAAP statement last Tuesday after executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag and 83rd season president Emmanuel Calanog of La Salle reconvened with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ panel composed of the Games and Amusements Board, Department of Health, Philippine Sports Commission, and Commission on Higher Education.

    “The UAAP Board of Managing Directors will convene on Thursday (September 3) to review these reports and tackle other related cases before taking pertinent actions,” the statement said.

    Perasol is puzzled why the issue came out and where it came from.

    “I don’t know (why the issue came out). Maybe they’re just acting on some tips,” explained Perasol. “Or maybe just muddling the issues.”

    Perasol, who will call the shots for the Maroons for the fifth straight year, maintained his team is heeding the “stay at home” order of the government to curb the spread of the deadly pulmonary disease caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

    “No practices pa rin. Individual programs lang sila. Enrollment din kasi,” he said.

    With the country’s COVID-19 pandemic woes having no end in sight, the UAAP is eyeing to launch its 83rd season early next year.

    UP reached the Final Four for the second straight season with a 9-5 record after the elimination round in the last UAAP cage wars.

    The No. 2 and twice-to-beat Maroons, however, fell short against the eventual runner-up Growling Tigers in their stepladder semifinals duel.

    UP is expected to lean on the likes of star forward Kobe Paras, Akhuetie, and wingman Ricci Rivero next season.

    With former star guard and now pro Paul Desiderio leading the way, the Maroons wound up as bridesmaid to Ateneo in 2018.

    UP last won a crown in 1986 behind pro league greats Benjie Paras and Ronnie Magsanoc, and Eric Altamirano.

    Aside from Tamayo and Abadiano, La Salle Greenhills gunner RC Calimag, Xavier’s Miguel Tan, Fil-Am guard Sam Dowd, Fil-Canadians Alonso Tan and Anton Eusebio, and Fil-Australian Ethan Kirkness are among the rookies who can play for State U in the 83rd UAAP basketball tournament.

    Prized recruits Joel Cagulangan of La Salle, Jancork Cabahug of University of the Visayas, and Senegalese slotman Maodo Malick Diouf of Centro Escolar University have also transferred to UP but will have to serve the league required one-year residency before they could suit up in the 84th season like former UST skipper CJ Cansino.