THIS early, several schools have expressed their intentions to acquire the services of departing members of the highly-touted San Sebastian team.
NCAA MVP Ian Sangalang and a host of key players, including those from the Stags’ Team B, are set to bolt the team in the wake of the departure of longtime benefactor Dennis Pineda, the former mayor of Lubao town and son of Pampanga governor Lilia Pineda.
Sangalang said he’s foregoing his final playing year in college, even as erstwhile San Sebastian coach Allan Trinidad noted that the Stags’ Team B, which he said boasts of a second version of the dreaded “Pinatubo Trio” composed of Sangalang, PBA rookie star Calvin Abueva, and Ronald Pascual, is likewise headed in a different direction.
“Ngayon may mga kumakausap na sa akin na ibang schools na gustong kunin `yung mga Team B (members),” said Trinidad. “Pero ang sabi ni Mayor makipag-negotiate muna ako, at dapat for long term, at dapat maayos ang edukasyon ng mga bata.
“Aside kay Ian, si Dexter Maiquez, Michael Miranda, Michael Juico, AJ Vitug, Raymond Binuya aalis na din. Pati `yung mga nasa Team B na dala ni Mayor aalis na din.
“Actually nga diyan sa Team B may naka handa nang papalit sa `Pinatubo Trio.’ Malakas yun at magaling. Ready to play na next year,” said Trinidad while refusing to give specifics.
Two of the new Pampanga players said to be ready to move up to the top level are 6-foot-5 forward-center Bradwyn Guinto, who hails from Sta. Ana, Pampanga but raised in Australia, and 6’5” Larry Muyang, also from Sta. Ana.
Trinidad added they still will leave the decision to the players, although they’ll try to help them in any way they can.
“Ngayon yung mga bata di namin sila pinu-persuade. Kung ano ang gusto nila, doon sila. Ang sabi namin sa kanila buhay niyo yan, you make your own decision," Trinidad said.
"Ayaw namin na balang araw sisisihin nila kami kasi ganito ang sinabi namin sa kanila. Pero di mo din masisisi ang mga bata kasi ang loyalty nila na kay Mayor,” he said.
Trinidad and his staff had been given their walking papers, but he said school officials have asked to meet them on January 4.
SSC-R athletic director Frank Gusi stressed that they take the welfare of the players seriously.
“Ang San Sebastian naman open to all of them (players) ang gusto namin makatapos sila ng pag-aaral at maging maganda ang career nila sa basketball,” Gusi told Spin.ph.
“Wala naman personalan dito yun ang stand ng school.”