FORMER University of the Philippines point guard Mikee Reyes broke his silence on his sudden departure from the Maroons, saying he found no reason to stay with the squad after being relegated to the third team by coach Ricky Dandan and told that "they didn't need me to win."
The 22-year-old Reyes, who waited three years to rejoin the Maroons as he recovered from two shoulder injuries, admitted he left the team after UP's opening game of the UAAP season against the Adamson Falcons.
Dandan confirmed Reyes' exit on Thursday and said the team is ready to "move on" without him.
"I wasn't asked nor told to leave, but I was told (by coach Dandan) that they didn't need me. They didn't need me to win," said Reyes. "I don't see that as quitting. I just didn't see the reason to stay and play so I decided it was time to move on."
Reyes said the problem started on Sunday during the third quarter of the match against the Falcons after he was substituted by Dandan as the Maroons were making a run.
He admitted being disappointed by the substitution, saying he shook his head as he retreated to the bench but denied confronting Dandan.
"I have to make it clear a fight consists of two people," he said. "I did not fight back or answer back."
Reyes continued: "We were on a run then I knew we had a chance to cut down the lead but he (coach Ricky) subbed me so I got frustrated. Umiling ako and I was scratching my head but I did not look at him or say anything to him."
Reyes was benched the rest of the way as UP absorbed its first loss for the season, 67-79. He described Dandan as calm during the post-game huddle, adding he sent his coach a text message later in the day apologizing for his behavior during the game.
Reyes said he didn't get a response.
"After the game I texted him. I told him that I'm sorry for what happened, what I did was wrong. I explained to him that I was really emotional that game and I told him that please can we just let this pass," he said.
"I don't want this to affect the whole season, kasalanan ko and 'di ko na ulit gagawin. But he (coach Ricky) didn't reply."
Reyes said he knew something was wrong the next day in practice when the assistant coaches gave him a warning that "something is going to happen."
"During the huddle, in front of everyone, (Dandan) told me that he's putting me down to the bench, 'di na niya ako gagamitin," said Reyes. "In his own words he told me, 'I'm relegating you to the third team and hindi ka namin kailangan para manalo'."
"That's why I decided to leave the team with a heavy heart. I'm not mad at him (coach Ricky) but if I see lies and twisted stories doon ako lalabas," he added.
The playmaker said he sent his former mentor a text message after practice.
"I texted him that night after practice, respectfully, and I even said thank you for the opportunity and for everything I've learned from him. And I decided to leave so the team could focus and get used to playing without me and I could just move on," he said.
"I have nothing against Coach Ricky. I just didn't see the point of staying if I was already told that they didn't need me," he said.
If at all, Reyes said he was disappointed with the university.
"I'm disappointed with how a lot of people have been calling, tweeting and texting me asking what went down, but I haven't received one call nor text from anyone from UP to clarify things. It just shows that this issue is not important to them. So let me move on quietly, please."
Asked what his plans are, Reyes said: "There's a lot of basketball outside of UP."