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PSC to summon UST over possible quarantine violations

Aldin Ayo and the UST Growling Tigers will be invited to explain their side on their supposed out-of-town practice bubble. Ernie Sarmiento

The UST Growling Tigers are set to be summoned by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to explain their side on reports that they had been holding practice.

In the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) No. 2020-0001 released by the Dept. of Health, the PSC, and the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) last July, only professional basketball, boxing, and football were given authority to hold limited practices in areas under general community quarantine.

However, according to GAB Chairman Abraham Mitra, one of the crafters of the JAO, no collegiate team should be holding practice at this time.

"Professionals are the only ones allowed to practice," Mitra told ESPN5.

Collegiate teams, which are not under the jurisdiction of GAB since they are still amateurs, are under the guidance of the PSC. "They are now already being contacted by the PSC to invite them to a Zoom meeting to explain," added Mitra.

A body composed of the three agencies shall then be tasked to probe the incident soon.

"We will study if they went against Omnibus guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force on social distancing," Mitra said.

Rumors of the Tigers' supposed clandestine practice sessions supposedly held out of town emerged on social media following the controversial exit of UST team captain CJ Cansino from the squad.

Additional reports also stated that the 6'2 swingman spoke on behalf of his teammates as captain to share their opinion on certain things.

That was when Cansino was allegedly kicked off from the team, causing him to return to Manila and make an immediate transfer to the UP Fighting Maroons.

Cansino, in a statement Friday, did not specify why he got removed.

"Bigyan lang ako ng isang rason para hindi lumipat, maglalaro pa rin ako sa UST. Kaya lang, tinanggal ako eh. Hindi mo naman pwede ipagpilitan yung sarili mo. May pangarap rin naman ako para sa sarili ko. Kaya sobrang lungkot lang na kailangan kong umalis sa UST kahit hindi ko gusto," he said.

In a separate interview with former Golden Tigress Carmela Tunay, he also declined to confirm nor deny the rumors.

"Humihingi ako ng sorry sa mga tao na humihingi ng sagot na yun, dahil ayoko na magsalita. Respeto na lang sa UST at sa mga dating teammate ko, dahil kung sa akin manggaling yun alam kong masisira yung team, alam kong mangyayari sa UST. Sila na bahala na mag-confirm noon," Cansino added.

The PSC was reached for comment, but politely declined, while the UAAP said Friday through Executive Director Atty. Rebo Saguisag that member schools must follow government protocol.