UAAP mum on UST game-fixing reports

MANILA, Philippines – UAAP basketball commissioner Rebo Saguisag told Rappler during an interview on Thursday, January 28, that the league board has yet to contact him regarding the alleged game fixing issue regarding the UST Growling Tigers.

The issue stemmed from speculation over the past few days of the supposed firing of UST men’s basketball head coach Bong Dela Cruz and an article on Fastbreak.com.ph, which indicates that a coach and top players of UST are allegedly part of a sell-out that took place in the recent UAAP season.

A report has since come out that UST has neither fired not suspended Dela Cruz, but he is under probe. Attempts by Rappler to reach Dela Cruz for comment have not yet been responded to at time of publishing.

“I haven’t really read the article at length,” admitted Saguisag. 

Walang attribution kung sino gumawa (There’s no attribution on who wrote it), so it’s basically all allegations,” he added. “Another thing is what’s being talked about: tutuo ba talaga (Is it really true)?”

Saguisag said that he has not been contacted by any members of the UAAP board, which includes two representatives from each of the 8 participating schools.

“No member of the board has as of yet contacted me. I don’t know if they will,” he said, before adding that he will meet some of them during the UAAP juniors basketball games this Saturday, when the topic might be brought up.

When asked if the board may already be discussing within themselves whether or not to take action, Saguisag admitted to being unsure because he isn’t in every board meeting.

“All business of the UAAP as an organization is conducted by the board. Sila ang mag de-decide (They will decide) of what direction to take as an organization,” added the commissioner, who also said that he does get summoned to some of the meetings when his participance is required.

“The board [has] the right to impose the necessary disciplinary action, depending on the severity of the offense,” Saguisag said about the punishment for those involved in the event the UAAP finds something worth reprimanding.

“Specific penalties, I don’t think meron (there are),” he said. “I think it’s pretty much open-ended. As far as I know, wala silang (they don’t have a) table of penalties.”

Saguisag pointed out repeatedly that there is still no proof of any game-fixing. Although in the event that such will be discovered, the punishments may not just come down from the league.

“I’m not saying there is, but this being a very serious allegation and offense - in fact even punishable, I think, by some laws of the republic - this is really very serious,” he said.

“So aside from the penalty that may be imposed by the UAAP, I’m sure, if proven, there is also going to be sanctions by the school involved. Kasi mabigat ito (Because this is heavy), if true. I have to emphasize this: if true.”

Rappler was able to reach UST athletic director Rod Sambuan, but he refused to comment and insisted that all statements coming from the university will be courtesy of UST Institute of Physical Education and Athletics (IPEA) director Fr. Ermito de Sagon, O.P.

If the UAAP comes down with a verdict as a league on a punishment, it will be from the collective decision of both the commissioner and the board, Saguisag believes.

“I think ang (the) collective decision dito (here) will be from the Commissioner and from the board, I think because of this being a very serious offense.

Hindi siya limitado sa mga one-game suspension, etc. Hindi ganon ka simple.”

(It’s not going to be limited to just a one-game suspension, etc. It’s not that simple.)

The report posted by Fastbreak doesn’t specify any players as being involved in game-fixing, although a few sentences at the bottom are dedicated to mentioning the up-and-down performances of UST’s MVP candidates from last season, Kevin Ferrer and Ed Daquioag, during the finals against FEU.

Daquioag scored just 4 points on 1-of-7 shooting in a Game 1 loss, to go along with 5 rebounds and 4 turnovers. In the title-deciding Game 3, Ferrer managed 6 points on 2-of-7 shooting for 5 rebounds and 3 turnovers.

A source close to both players vehemently denied the notion that the two are involved in game-fixing.

“It’s not in their character. These two athletes are goal-oriented and family-oriented. Hindi sila masisilaw sa ganitong bagay,” the source told Rappler.

(They won’t be tempted by such things.) – Rappler.com