SAN Sebastian veteran guard Jamil Ortuoste is at a loss after being left out in the cold, claiming he was unceremoniously booted out from the squad by new head coach Egay Macaraya.
Ortouste, a flashy high-scoring guard who had stellar averages of 16 points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal last season, detailed his plight in an emotional post on his personal Facebook page.
According to the Stags star, he approached Macaraya and asked for some time off to tend to his classes. Instead, Macaraya went on record and said it was Ortuoste’s decision to forego his final playing year.
Contacted by Spin.ph, Ortouste said on Wednesday afternoon that it was not the case.
The high-scoring guard related that he approached Macaraya last month to consult with him regarding the conflict in schedule between his classes and the team’s practices.
“Ang masasabi ko lang is, nagpaalam ako sa kanya ng maayos and humingi ako ng tulong about sa problem ko sa conflict sa schedule ng practice namin at classes ko," said Ortuoste.
"Pero ang sinabi nya sa akin, tapusin ko na lang ang pag-aaral ko. Tutal, graduating naman daw ako. Kakausapin na lng daw n'ya ang mga pari na hindi na ako maglalaro sa final year ko,” he added.
He continued: “Since nangyari 'yun, wala na kaming communication dahil after that day, inannounce niya na din sa buong team na hindi na ako maglalaro at tatanggalin na din 'yung allowance and dorm privileges ko.”
Sought for comment, Macaraya said the decision to remove Ortouste from the team and strip him of his privileges as a student athlete was for the best of the team.
“Wala namang problema at first eh. Dito lang naman ‘to lumabas nung tinanggal na ang allowance at dorm privileges niya,” said Macaraya, who was recently named head coach of the Stags after a successful run with Centro Escolar University in the NAASCU and the Café France Bakers in the PBA D-League.
"It’s only fair din naman kasi hindi na siya naglalaro sa team. Ibibigay ko na lang to sa mga naka-lineup ko."
Unless resolved, the conflict is set to put a premature end to Ortuoste’s impressive but injury-riddled career with the Stags, at a time when he was looking to go out on a high note.
“It’s my last year kaya talagang pinaghahandaan ko ‘tong season na ‘to. But all of a sudden, ganun na lang ang nangyari. Ganun kabilis," he said.
"Right now, focus na lang muna ako sa mga subjects ko. For now, blanko ang utak ko sa basketball. Mula noon, hindi pa ako humahawak ng bola ulit. Main goal ko na lang talaga is to graduate.”