MANILA – Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Butch Ramirez said he sees the reported ill-advised training bubble made by the UST Growling Tigers amid the health crisis as something beyond basketball.
"The issue, for me, is much bigger than sports. It touches on a sensitive facet of our society that questions our priorities," Ramirez said in a statement on Monday.
The "sensitive facet", he said, pertains to moral challenges he described as "one glaring reality that we face in the field of sports, as in all other aspects of life."
Many fans speculate that the alleged bubble is a sign of UST's sheer determination to dethrone Ateneo as the men's basketball champion of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) after a failed attempt last year.
However, Ramirez questioned the move, especially during the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak.
"Does winning always mean everything else takes second place? Are we so focused on winning that we are ready to compromise important matters, like the safety of the youth we are supposed to guide? Is the athletic development and achievement, or team readiness more paramount that overstepping bounds, compromising one’s safety, or putting your team credibility on the line takes a back seat?" he asked.
Amateur athletes, including collegiate players, are not yet allowed to train during the pandemic, making the reported UST bubble a violation of quarantine protocols.
UST has begun a probe regarding the bubble, which came to light after CJ Cansino's transfer to the University of the Philippines.
The PSC, UAAP, Games and Amusements Board, Department of Health, and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases are waiting for the result of UST's probe before making their respective moves.
"We await the result of investigations regarding this," Ramirez said. "The government may not be able to monitor all activities, violations or actions, but as citizens, we are all equally responsible for what we do and what we ask others to do for a cause or intention. Let us all care for one another in whatever way we can. If not as citizens, let us do it as brothers and sisters to one another." (Ivan Saldajeno - PNA)