Saturday, 1 June 2013 121 Comments
The Ateneo Blue Eagles finished the eliminations with a stellar 7-1 record after besting their rivals De La Salle, Saturday in the FilOil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup.
However, the Eagles will not be playing in the quarter finals or for the rest of the tourney.
After their match agains La Salle, Ateneo Athletic Director Ricky Palou said in a statement that the Eagles are withdrawing from the tourney and will therefore no longer compete in the playoffs.
“We have decided to pull out of the league at this point of the tournament. Basically, because of the injuries that the team has. Playing with just ten players in the game could lead to more injuries for the players,” explained Mr. Palou.
“We’re really disappointed. I think right now the coaching staff is just concerned about the health of the players. It’s not really nice but the coaching staff feels like they have to assure the safety of the players.”
The Eagles only had ten players available to play in their match against La Salle, their first after returning from overseas for trainings.
“I think we can’t go on playing like this,” said Ateneo head coach Bo Perasol during the post game interview. “Meaning, I can’t just play with ten players all the time. Probably we can sustain that for a game but maybe not for even half a season.”
Injured players from Ateneo include JP Erram, Kris Porter, Gideon Babilonia, Gwyne Capacio, and most recently, Von Pessumal.
According to Coach Bo, some of the ten who played in Saturday’s game were also suffering from minor injuries.
On the part of the FilOil tournament, Chairman Boysie Henares said that they tried to appeal to the Ateneo management to reconsider.
“They have valid reasons that we understand. We were trying to request for reconsideration prior to the official statement, but unfortunately, I think they made up their mind already. We discussed with management of FilOil Flying V and they accept it,” he said during an interview.
Even if Ateneo pushed through with their decision to pull out, Tournament Director Joey Guillermo said that there are no ill feelings.
“I don’t think that at this point in time that we should be feeling bad with Ateneo. We are saddened but it’s not something that we feel bad about.”
Henares did clarify though that the league’s pressing concern would be if Ateneo’s decision could be the start of a trend for teams to pull out of the preseason in order to focus on their mother leagues.
“Actually, that’s what we were hoping against. We talked to Ricky Palou and we requested him if he could relay our concerns because this might be setting a precedent. Hopefully, this does not happen again because it will not also look good. But we spoke with the top management and they understand the position. We discussed this earlier and if it’s their decision, we will abide,” explained Henares.
He also noted that despite FilOil Flying V being one of Ateneo’s sponsors, the team’s decision will not affect that relationship.
As far as sanctions, Henares explained that there are none at present but it will be decided upon in the future.
“I guess that would have to be discussed in the future. As of the moment there are no stipulations that the Ateneo team will be sanctioned.”
With Ateneo out of the quarter finals, Colegio de San Juan de Letran will now be included in the playoffs and teams in Group B will move up.
For the quarter finals that will start on Monday, it will be Arellano University going up against the University of Santo Tomas at 2pm, which will be followed by the University of the East versus Adamson University at 4pm.
On Wednesday, the double header starts with National University going head to head with Letran. And at 4pm, De La Salle University will tangle with San Beda College.