PLAIN and simple. If University of Santo Tomas did violate government protocols when it set up a training bubble in Sorsogon, then someone should be held accountable.
Former UST standout Dylan Ababou made the stand as the school deals with a controversy over its men’s basketball team's alleged training in faraway Casuy, Sorsogon in violation of quarantine protocols.
The team practice came at a time when amateur players are still prohibited from conducting training amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
While he doesn’t really have inside knowledge of what really transpired in the controversial ‘Sorsogon bubble,’ Ababou believes persons or authorities responsible for it must face the consequences of their action.
“Kung meron nalabag na rules yung UST, kung meron silang nagawang mali, may mga consequences. Kailangan sumunod sila sa batas,” said the 33-year-old wingman, part of the last UST men’s team that won the UAAP varsity championship in 2006.
“Masakit man sa amin, pero kung ano man ang mapag-desisyunan ng gobyerno natin at mga regulatory boards ay kailangan tanggapin.”
Ababou, the 2009 UAAP MVP, admitted it is but normal for college teams to train and prepare during the pre-season.
But with the current health crisis and no season to prepare for, he said it was best for the players to stay home.
“Kung meron rules ang government na bawal tayong lumabas, hindi tayo dapat lumabas. Kailangan nating mag-comply,” said Ababou, who was a part of the original Smart Gilas Pilipinas team.
Ababou, who played eight years in the PBA for teams such as Barako Bull, Barangay Ginebra, TnT Katropa, NorthPort, Phoenix, Blackwater, and Columbian Dyip, however, doesn’t seem in favor of the action made by former UST team captain CJ Cansino of divulging in public the condition that the players faced inside the bubble, especially in terms of the food they were eating.
By doing so, he thought, it only further complicated matters.
“Kay coach Pido (Jarencio) kasi ang rule namin noon, primarily kung ano ang mapag-usapan sa team bawal lumabas. Kung ano yung maging internal agreement and internal arrangement as a team, as a united team, kailangang walang magsasabi sa labas,” he recalled of his time with the Tigers, when he was coached by the legendary Jarencio and had for teammates the likes of Jervy Cruz, Jojo Duncil, Japs Cuan, June Dizon, Francis Allera, among others.
“Kasia once lumabas yung balita ang dami nagiging interpretation,” he added. “Ang nangyari, imbes na makatulong sa team, lalo na-destroy yung team. Parang nangyari sa Rome as Rome was destroyed from within.”
And while he respects the decision of players who opted to leave the school, Ababou said he’ll stay with the team if ever he was still part of the current Tigers.
“Hindi ako magta-transfer kasi merong goal which is to win the championship. Kung aalis ako, na-defeat na yung goal, na-defeat na yung purpose,” said the soft-spoken Ababou, who now plays in the Chooks-to-Go 3x3 Philippines league.