TWO-TIME UAAP juniors MVP Jerie Pingoy failed to suit up for Far Eastern University-Diliman in their 73-70 win over Ateneo on Sunday in the Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championship (PSSBC) at the Chiang Kai-Shek College gym in Manila.
FEU-Diliman coach Mike Oliver said Pingoy missed the game against the Blue Eaglets because of illness, but the absence has inevitably left tongues wagging since the Baby Tamaraws standout is being linked to a move to the Katipunan campus after high school.
The Cebuano hotshot, who played in the Baby Tamaraws’ first two games of the tournament, arrived in the venue in full gear with just eight seconds left in the game.
“Masama 'yung pakiramdam niya kahapon, parang linalagnat,” said Oliver after the game. “Kaya pinagpahinga ko muna."
“Buti nga umabot pa siya eh pero hindi ko na siya pinarating dito dahil masama pakiramdam niya,” Oliver added.
Pingoy is caught in a recruitment tug-of-war between FEU and Ateneo. The Tamaraws are claiming that Pingoy has signed an agreement to play for the school in college but Pingoy’s father Jerry has said in an interview with the Inquirer that the juniors star is "one million percent" sure of playing for the Blue Eagles.
The younger Pingoy said in another interview with Spin.ph that he is still undecided.
JJ Domingo picked up the slack in the absence of Pingoy, scoring 22 points including crucial baskets to seal the UAAP champions’ second win in three games in the tournament.
A go-ahead triple by Domingo and a lay-up off a steal gave the Baby Tamaraws a 70-67 lead with 50 seconds left in the fourth. Michael Nieto scored on an undergoal stab but Louie Magbuhos hit his only field goal with 25.6 seconds remaining.
With the Baby Tamaraws leading 72-70, Domingo missed two free throws but grabbed the rebound off his own miss. He split his free throws with 5.4 seconds left. The Blue Eaglets’ last-gasp three didn’t hit the mark as they went down to their second consecutive loss.