MANILA, Philippines – The La Salle Green Archers ended their UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball Final Four bid in heartbreaking fashion with an 80-76 loss to eventual fourth seed Adamson Soaring Falcons at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday, December 4.
Despite not having former MVP frontrunner Schonny Winston, likely Rookie of the Year runaway winner Kevin Quiambao, and Season 84 Mythical Five member Michael Phillips, the Evan Nelle-led La Salle pushed Jerom Lastimosa’s squad to the limit before eventually falling in a nail-biting finish.
However, before the Archers’ chapter closed with a standard ending where one team was simply better than the other, an interesting footnote was slipped in as Winston was spotted in the stands among with the fans during the Adamson game, and not on the bench where his team definitely needed him most.
Asked about this curious development after the season-ending loss, La Salle head coach Derick Pumaren politely declined to comment on the situation.
“No comment with that. I think in due time La Salle will come out with a statement regarding that,” said the multi-titled mentor. “Yes yes, he was cleared to train without restrictions. He was cleared to play without restrictions.”
However, Winston himself claimed on Twitter that his left calf – initially diagnosed as strained by the team – was actually torn.
“Thank you La Salle. I will always be an Archer at heart. Few know, but I suffered a torn calf after the first round and [I’ve] been trying to make a recovery ever since, but I guess it wasn’t quick enough. [I] wish I could have competed [tonight]. Love y’all, thanks for the support!” he wrote.
“I will always support my brothers whether I’m allowed on the bench or have to buy tickets to the game. Can’t stop my love for them.”
Regardless of what is the real truth, Winston’s UAAP career – after peaking with a runaway MVP candidacy in the first round of eliminations – is now over in controversial and unceremonious fashion. – Rappler.com