Jerie Pingoy of the FEU Baby Tamaraws. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA – Former UAAP juniors Most Valuable Player Jerie Pingoy visited his old stomping grounds at the Far Eastern University (FEU)-Diliman campus on Tuesday but stressed that he was not leaving the Ateneo de Manila University.
Pingoy visited FEU-Diliman to attend the inauguration of the school’s new sports center, and FEU’s representative to the UAAP board, Anton Montinola, said Pingoy’s presence at the ceremony showed the star guard’s desire to return to the Tamaraws’ fold.
“In fact, he’s coming back. That’s the reason why he’s here. He saw the facility, he likes it, he met his former champion teammates. He misses them, he felt more comfortable in FEU, so he wants to come back and practice here, because the gym is nicer daw,” Montinola told reporters.
But Pingoy was quick to quash Montinola’s hopes, saying he was only visiting the school.
“Pumunta lang ako dito kasi ininvite ako ni (FEU directress) Dr. Miriam Garcia, na parang second mom ko,” Pingoy explained. “Siyempre, respect na lang. Masaya din ako na nakabalik ako dito sa FEU.”
He stressed that he has no intention of leaving Ateneo. “Ateneo talaga ako. I choose Ateneo talaga,” he said.
Pingoy sat out the entirety of the UAAP Season 76 men’s basketball tournament but hopes to see action in Season 77.
“I’m still hoping na ma-release talaga ako,” said Pingoy.
Pingoy won a championship with the FEU Baby Tamaraws in 2012, but caused a stir when he committed to Ateneo for college. That triggered a series of events that led to changes in the UAAP’s residency rules, wherein an athlete from a UAAP high school who transfers to a different UAAP school for college will now have to sit out two years, instead of one.
Montinola said if Pingoy ever decides to return to FEU, he will be welcomed with open arms, but added that the choice will be up to the player.
“That’s his choice. We have no say on that, we cannot force him. It will be his choice,” he said. “If he so decides to come back and play here, then we’re happy. It’s his choice.”