CEBU CITY – Barangay Ginebra star Greg Slaughter and other University of the Visayas alumni expressed dismay after the present-day Green Lancers failed to show the qualities of true champions and fell miserably to University of San Carlos in the Cesafi semifinals.
It was not even rivals but teammates who clashed in the dying moments of the game with UV guard Franz Arong clashing with import Jeffakins Aguara, nearly triggering a melee.
“As a basketball player and as a fan, it’s already sad to hear something like that happening between teammates during a game. To know that it happened to my former school feels much worse,” said Slaughter, who suited up for the Green Lancers from 2007 to 2009 before transferring to Ateneo.
What prompted Arong to shove Aguara was a play with 35 seconds remaining in the game, when the latter simply stepped aside and allowed USC’s Cameroonian import Shooster Olago to score on a slam dunk uncontested and give the Warriors a 10-point lead.
Andrew Avillanoza, another former UV big man who is also now with Ginebra, said what transpired was unacceptable.
“Arong is a good kid. He always stood up for everybody. When I was still playing for UV, he always had my back so I’m surprised that this happened. I didn’t expect him to do what he did,” said Avillanoza.
Jerome Silva, a former Mythical Five awardee, did not comment about the clash between players, but expressed his disappointed over Aguara’s play.
“Kung ikaw import, you should double your effort.”
Former guard Ritchum Dennison, a guard who, like Arong, prides himself in playing defense, added: “Instead of teaming up, they fought, so they ended up losing.”
Lancers’ team manager Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas apologized to the public for his players’ actions and has ordered an investigation.
“An investigation will be conducted in order to ascertain what caused the event and will mete out the proper penalty for the guilty party or parties. The University of the Visayas is asking for an apology for the acts displayed by the players. To add further, UV assures the public that it was only an isolated incident. UV remains pure to its commitment to develop players not only with the basic skill and talent that the sports demand, but, likewise, teach them with proper values in the conduct of the game,” said Gullas.
While Gullas did not condone his players’ actions, he added that he understood where it came from.
“What is clear at this point is that the players involved were very passionate about the game and in defending their title. What may have happened may only be a spur of the moment, a sudden outburst of emotion and feeling. It cannot be taken away that players will bet every piece of his being in the game and that the point where the game is losing would be very hard for the players to accept.
"Nevertheless, UV Administration does not tolerate the unfortunate event especially, now, that it has tarnished the image of the school,” added Gullas, also a congressman and UV assistant vice-president.