There's no UAAP just yet, but the issue of the alleged UST Sorsogon bubble has been a hot topic after CJ Cansino announced his exit and subsequent transfer to the University of the Philippines.
Adamson Soaring Falcons head coach Franz Pumaren, for one, expressed his disbelief when he talked about the Sorsogon bubble on a recent episode of Sports Page.
"Basketball can take a backseat first. For me ang mindset should be: we have to work as a team to make sure we survive this pandemic, for everybody to stay healthy," Pumaren said, sharing that they've been mostly getting by through individual programs.
So he was surprised to learn that UST players were in a "training bubble" away from Metro Manila.
"It's mind-boggling. We have certain rules to follow," Pumaren said, mentioning the various requirements the PBA had to go through to get the IATF greenlight for practice. "How come they were able to travel from Manila to Sorsogon? You're not supposed to be traveling."
Lyceum head coach Topex Robinson said he, too, was surprised when he first heard of the bubble.
"It's surprising that they were able to pull that off. You have to understand where they're coming from. They're looking forward everything will go back to normal at the soonest possible time. But putting the lives of everybody in danger is really alarming," Robinson added, saying that he too tried to suggest training options for players but was shut down by Lyceum multiple times.
The UST bubble issue brought to light the supposed conditions of the players in Sorsogon, with some allegedly complaining about their quality of food.
"It's a different era. We have to understand changing times," Pumaren said, "Everybody's getting sick. You want a healthy bunch of players. Isa lang magkasakit dun, lahat yan magkakaroon ng problema."
The two coaches admitted that the changing times are also reflected in college recruitment.
"The recruitment process during our time, walang money involved. Now it's entirely different. Ang nangyayari is, 'What's in it for us?'" Pumaren recalled.
"We cannot blame those players, those agents. As long as may demand for that, they will grab the opportunity," he rued.
"Ang frustrating ngayon, some schools will get players even if they don't need it. In short, they're stockpiling," the Falcons coach added.
Robinson on the other hand, took pride in snapping up players that other schools overlooked.
"We gave them a chance sa LPU and we make the most of the players. Meron pa rin namang bata na gusto talagang matuto and they believe in our system. It's a blessing that we still get those players," he said.
Pumaren though, thinks more should be done about players transferring from school to school within the same league, such as UAAP to UAAP or NCAA to NCAA.
"I guess it's quite alarming. I think they really have to address that. Adamson was a victim of that," he said, "We have to regulate this. One year is not enough. It should be two years."
"What values did you teach the kid?"
Robinson on the other hand, is offering a different kind of compensation in keeping his players.
"What I have control is how I'm gonna build the relationship with the player. I invested so much time on that. If there's an opportunity na may nagsabi sayo which happens to my players, I give them that freedom," he said,
"I'm gonna give you the love and support na di kaya tapatan ng pera. I invested in a lot of loving kasi yun yung libre."
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