TALK about trusting one of your star players, on and off the court.
University of the Philippines coach Bo Perasol has no problem, at least for now, if and when his prized forward Kobe Paras will be sanctioned, although unlikely, by the UAAP for violating quarantine protocols.
“Hindi ko pa nakakausap si Kobe regarding that. Nakita ko lang din iyong photo a few days back,” Perasol told Malaya-Business Insight yesterday.
“If Kobe will be summoned (by the UAAP), he will be in the best position to explain himself. I do trust his judgment,” he added.
After a series of video and photos showing players sweating it out in a five-on-five game at the Ronac Gym in San Juan circulated on social media last week, Ginebra forward Japeth Aguilar and Rain or Shine rookie guard Adrian Wong were summoned by PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial to explain why they should not face sanctions due to quarantine violations yesterday.
Also seen doing group workouts were Japan B. League-bound and former Ateneo “King Eagle” Thirdy Ravena, Wong, and the 6-foot-6 Paras.
Center Isaac Go, who was tabbed as the first pick overall by Terra Firma in the special Gilas draft last December and also part of the group, was just reprimanded by Marcial since he is not yet officially part of the PBA.
Those posts have been deleted.
With the fate of the UAAP’s 83rd season hanging in the air due to the health risks and uncertainties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Paras is likely to spared punishment unless UP, which has the jurisdiction over him and its other players, takes action.
While the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases has given the PBA and a Philippines Football League the green light to resume training last Friday, recreational basketball games remain prohibited under the general community quarantine to stem the spread of the dreaded pandemic.
Perasol said it’s about time to buckle down to work with the needed precautions in place.
“It is my opinion that we need to jumpstart our lives again. It is important to fight this battle head on,” he said. “That is of course to say that we have to follow the agreed protocols.”
Perasol, who will call the shots for UP for the fifth straight year, said other leagues like the UAAP should take the lead from the PBA and the PFL.
“Safety still should be primordial in whatever we do. Whatever happens to the PBA and PFL shall stand as a model concept for all organized sports,” he said.
“We are all hoping and praying for their success.”
Parading arguably the most talented line-up in the last UAAP cage wars with Paras, former MVP Bright Akhuetie, playmaker Juan Gomez de Liaño, and high-flying wingman Ricci Rivero leading the way, the Maroons advanced to the Final Four as the No. 2 squad with a 9-5 card after the elimination round.
Despite enjoying a twice-to-beat advantage, however, UP was foiled in the stepladder semifinals by University of Santo Tomas, which lost to mighty Ateneo in the finals via a two-game sweep.
The Maroons are expected to rely on Paras, Akhuetie, and Rivero next season.