CEBU CITY – The transfer of marquee player Darrell Shane Menina from University of Cebu to Mapua has sparked a scathing word war between two of the leading colleges in the country.
Webmasters team manager and acting coach Atty. Baldomero ‘Merong’ Estenzo questioned Mapua’s recruitment tactics after its coaches talked directly with Menina and other targets during the Cardinals' recent stint in the Cebu City Mayor’s Cup without informing UC officials.
Menina, no doubt the team's best player, admitted he was approached by Cardinals coach Atoy Co and deputy Anton de los Reyes after the Webmasters’ game against Mapua and was offered a spot in the team.
Menina agreed and on Sunday left for Manila to join the Cardinals.
Estenzo was understandably rankled with the latest player to be recruited by Manila-based school from UC.
“Is that an act of sportsmanship? Most especially if they talk directly to the players without the decency or courtesy of asking permission from the owner of the school or his representative? Does it speak well of their school?” a fuming Estenzo said on Sunday.
Menina was not the first player 'poached' from the Webmasters camp. Past UC players recruited to play for Manila include Roger Ray Pogoy of Far Eastern University, Jerie Marlon Pingoy of Ateneo, and Alfred Batino of Centro Escolar University.
Contacted for comment by Spin.ph, Co said he did nothing wrong as far as offering Medina a chance to play for the Cardinals in the NCAA, stressing he was merely doing his job.
“I did nothing wrong. As a coach, it is my job to look for the best talent available to add to my team. And in (Shane) Menina, nakita ko na he’s one of the best, if not the best here in Cebu. So I talked to him and his parents after our game and they agreed to join my team,” said the Crispa legend.
Co also insisted no money was involved in the recruitment, saying he only told Medina about the opportunity to play in one of the most prestigious college leagues in the country and in being part of Mapua’s rich basketball program, which the former PBA MVP is trying to rebuild.
“No cash was involved. I only offered him a spot in the team and the opportunity na mapakita niya ang kakayahan niya,” said Co.
Asked if Menina is indeed, capable of cracking the final roster of Mapua for the coming NCAA season, Co said he believes so.
“Magaling yung bata. I think kaya niya. I’m trying my best to put him in our final roster,” said the Mapua coach.