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    Makati five say they were called names, felt abandoned by teammates

    Mar 11, 2021

    THEY were like warriors fed to the wolves.

    This was how the five holdover players of the Makati Super Crunch team felt after they were left to play without disgruntled veteran teammates in the deciding MPBL division playoff against the Go for Gold San Juan Knights on Wednesday night.

    In an interview with Spin.ph, three of the five players who endured a 54-131 beating at the hands of the powerhouse Knights said they felt ashamed over the strange turn of events.

    “Nahihiya talaga ko sa talo namin, 77 points, pero sana kung andun sila baka natalo pa namin yung ano eh, yung San Juan dahil iba yung team pagbuo yung Makati,” said guard Bhabap Sta. Maria.

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    In the two teams’ final game before the pandemic, Makati was able to force a do-or-die match in the Northern Division finals after a 91-88 win over the Knights at the Fil-Oil Flying V Centre homecourt.

    But when the decider was played almost a year after, only Sta. Maria, former NU Bulldog Edwin Asoro, David Carlos, Carlo lloren and Kako Morales were around.

    Hard hit by the pandemic, the team was left without former PBA players Jeckster Apinan, Jonathan Baloria, Rudy Lingganay and amateur standouts Joshua Torralba and Joseph Sedurifa due to a riff with management over back pay.

    Sta. Maria bared that in their players’ Messenger group chat, some of their former teammates even started calling them names when they refused to give in to their requests not to play in the bubble.

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      “Masakit yung mga sinasabi nila (sa gc) pero isinasantabi na lang namin yun eh, para sa team Makati, for the love of the game, pinili na lang naming maglaro kahit sobrang daming bashers at negative comment sa amin, para lang din sa liga, sa MPBL,” he said.

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      As their former teammates went public with their gripes against team management on social media, Sta. Maria claimed the ‘Makati 5’ even had to endure the backlash from some individuals.

      “Yung sitwasyon namin bago kami pumunta ng Subic, mahirap kasi maraming bashers, maraming negative comments sa amin. Syempre sa feelings namin, mahirap yun bago maglaro," he said.

      "Pero hindi na lang namin sila pinapansin o binabasa para makaiwas din kami sa bashers,” he said.

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      For shooting guard Lloren, his decision to play was about showing professionalism, especially since they were representing their hometown.

      “Basta ako nag-yes ako, ayun lang kung ano offer ng management, malaki rin yung utang na loob namin, two years nila kaming pinasweldo at binigyan ng trabaho. Sino mag-aakala na magkaka-pandemic?” said Lloren.

      “Kumbaga sa amin, homegrown, amateur, para sa amin gusto namin ng exposure, lahat naman siguro gusto magkaroon ng exposure, para sumikat, makilala, kasi ito yung passion namin, basketball talaga,” he added.

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      Slam dunk sensation David Carlos, for his part, explained that his decision to show up in the game was about giving back to the management that supported him and his family long before the health crisis happened.

      “Ako auto yes ako, kasi ang pinairal ko loyalty eh. Kahit anong sabihin nila sa team owner namin, kay Paolo (Orbeta), auto yes ako kasi sya yung nagbigay ng chance sa akin. Pinakain nya ako for three years, until now, yung mga savings ko from my salary, nase-send ko yung mga anak ko sa magagandang school because of the money na pinapasweldo nila sa akin,” said Carlos, the MPBL slam dunk champion.

      He is also hopeful that when the situation returns to normal, Makati will have a formidable line-up again so they can go on a quest for redemption.

      “Im sure Makati will rise again after all the issues and for sure kukuha naman yung mga boss namin ng quality players din and it’s for you guys to see na lang,” said Carlos.

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        Orbeta explained that the veteran players asked to be compensated for six to one year worth of salaries at a time no team in the MBPL paid under the same terms.

        “Halos lahat ng teams sa MPBL ended their commitments sa players right after their games (nung March 2020). Kami willing magbayad ng three months, kasi yun lang ang kaya ng budget. Galit pa sila sa amin,” Orbeta told SPIN.ph.

        “Willing naman kami mag-compromise. We can give them their due, pero sana naman magtulungan kami. Every company in the world is suffering from this pandemic. Ako nga willing to rebuild this team with them, walang maiiwan, ganun ako ka-sincere sa kanila,” said the under-fire team owner.

        Orbeta claimed that he is willing to pay his players up to three months as back pay if they can reach a compromise.

        “Sabi ko sa kanila bayaran ko sila ng one to three months, kahit wala namang work, wala namang laro, wala namang MPBL ng March to June last year, but still they said no. Nag no sila sa compromise ko, because they want six months to one year. Walang games, walang ensayo, wala lahat? Who is unfair?” he added.

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