CEBU CITY - Reigning back-to-back UAAP juniors MVP Jerie Marlon Pingoy insisted on Tuesday that he has not committed to any school, adding he would like to play out his high school basketball career with Far Eastern University-Diliman before deciding on where he would play college ball.
The celebrated juniors standout made the statement amid conflicting claims made by FEU athletic director Mark Molina, who said the point guard has signed a letter of agreement with the school, and Pingoy's father Jerry who said he is "one million percent" certain that his son would suit up for Ateneo.
Pingoy, who steered the Baby Tamaraws to their first UAAP juniors crown in 25 years this past season, admitted there are a lot of schools - both from Manila and in Cebu - which are trying to recruit him, but insisted he has not made any decisions as to where he’ll be playing college ball next season.
“I have not committed to any school yet. I have no idea where all those reports are coming from,” said Pingoy in Cebuano while on vacation at his humble abode atop Nivel Hills in this city. "There are a lot of schools that are trying to recruit me but I have not made any decisions with regards to that matter."
Pingoy, who averaged 21 points, four rebounds, five assists on top of two steals per game for the Baby Tamaraws last season, also clarified that what he signed with FEU was an agreement that the Morayta-based school would support his and his sibilings' education if he decides to stay put.
“It’s not an official contract. It’s just an agreement that states that FEU will support my schooling as well as my siblings' next season, should I join them,” he said.
However, Anton Montinola, FEU's representative to the UAAP board, said he is standing by the signed agreement as well as previous statements made by Pingoy that he wants to play college ball with the Tamaraws "out of loyalty."
“Hindi naman siya ang nagsalita, it’s the father and hindi si Koko (Pingoy’s nickname),” said Montinola. “And yes, we have a signed contract. There is nothing really to comment about here because ang sinasabi ni Koko, gusto niya maglaro para sa FEU.”
Montinola said he hopes Pingoy's father, a former PBA player, will respect the player's ‘decision.’
“Sana naman, respetuhin ‘yung kagustuhan ng bata dahil siya naman ang maglalaro. We will see, but as far as we know, Koko wants to play for FEU,” he said.
Molina also tweeted: "Pingoy and father signed an agreement with FEU. We hope this will be honored and respected."
Pingoy arrived here on Monday for a much-needed vacation after a rigorous campaign in the UAAP that saw the Baby Tamaraws lift their first title since the days of FEU great Johnny Abarrientos.
“I’m just here to spend and enjoy time with my family. Life here is much different from that in Manila. Though I’ve already adjusted to life there, it’s still a different vibe here,” Pingoy said.
For now, the talented point guard said he is concentrating on trying to bring another title to FEU-Diliman in the inaugural Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championship.
After that, Pingoy said he will make the decision that everybody is awaiting for.
“It’s really a lot of pressure on me. I just might return to the University of Cebu na lang,” said Pingoy in jest. “But it’s all right. I’m just going to take my time and enjoy what’s left of my high school career.” - With reports from Reuben Terrado