FAR EASTERN University fired back at the Philippine Football Federation, denying accusations that they refused to cooperate and release players to the national team.
“I think we are the most cooperative in terms of the national team,” said FEU athletic director Mark Molina, pointing out that the school had always been willing to lend players to the national team under the condition that their stint won’t affect their academics.
Molina made the remark in reaction to a Spin.ph story posted Monday of Philippine Football Federation general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes expressing dismay that the school didn’t lend its players for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-16 championships that will start on Wednesday in Malaysia.
“Kung walang problema sa academics, walang problema. But if they are on probation, they can’t join. Kasi kapag bumagsak ’yung bata, kawawa yung bata at kasalanan ko,” Molina added.
The PFF said FEU's Chester Gio Pabualan, Renz Saldivar, and Orlan Togores failed to show up for the last practice of the team before leaving for Kuala Lumpur. The three were then dropped, leaving the Under-16 Azkals with only 19 players for the Asian joust.
Under-16 Azkals coach Anto Gonzales said FEU's coach Kim Chul Su had kept the Tamaraws trio from joining the national squad due to “various reasons, a number of issues against the federation and the coaches.”
Molina admitted that, at the moment, FEU will not be lending its players to the national team until a similar case in the Under-19 team involving the school's Arnel Amita is resolved.
Molina said national coach Marlon Maro and team manager Alvin Carranza had asked for the services of Amita for the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Under-19 Championships in Indonesia on September 7 to 23.
FEU initially refused to release Amita since he was under academic probation, but later agreed to let him join the team from September 8 to 15 after being cleared to play by his professors.
But the school later found out that Amita was booked to leave for Indonesia on September 18, in violation of the dates agreed upon.
“I already requested our football coaches not to allow anyone to join the national team because of what happened to Amita,” said Molina.
Generally, however, MOlina pointed out FEU has been generous in lending players to the national team, so long as there are no scheduling conflicts with the UAAP tournament.
“I can only speak for FEU but Richard Escoto is part of the youth basketball team that just left yesterday. One of our players, Paolo Bugas, he is only second year college but we allowed him to join the Azkals. Gilas, nagpahiram din kami ng player in RR Garcia, as well as in track and field.
“Ayaw lang namin i-disregard yung academics kasi papaano kung bumagsak ’yung bata,” said Molina.
FEU had already written the PFF about its stand and what had transpired in the Amita case.
“Until we hear a response from them, we will not allow any players. Pwede namang pag-usapan ’yun,” Molina said.