MANILA, Philippines - While its protest against Ateneo's win still to be decided in the boardroom, University of Santo Tomas trains its sights on something it can secure on the hard court – a possible crack at No. 2 in the Final Four.
The Tigers (9-4) take on ousted the University of the East Warriors (3-10) at 2 p.m. today in a crucial UAAP Season 75 men's basketball game at the MOA Arena, looking for that 10th win that would land them a semis berth and at least a playoff for the No. 2 slot and twice-to-beat incentive.
UST is disputing the No. 2 semis seeding with idle Far Eastern (9-4), which tackles National U (8-5) in a replay of their second-round duel on Sunday. In case of a tie for second at the end of the elims, the two will figure in a knockout game for the semis bonus.
In a must-win situation is La Salle (8-5), which battles also-ran Adamson (3-10) at 4 p.m., shooting for a key victory and half-a-game lead over the Bulldogs, or even higher, should UST and FEU falter in their last assignments and forge a four-way tie for second at 9-5.
"Walang problema ang team. Naka-ready ito anytime, kahit pa anong mangyari sa talo sa Ateneo (The team is ready to play anytime, regardless of what happens to the game against Ateneo)," said UST coach Pido Jarencio.
UST yesterday filed an appeal before the technical committee seeking to overturn commissioner Ato Badolato’s decision to junk the Tigers' protest in their 66-68 loss to the Eagles last Saturday.
UAAP Season 75 president Nilo Ocampo said the technical committee will meet today to discuss the matter.
The Tigers are protesting the non-issuance of a technical foul on ADMU coach Norman Black for entering the court to complain about a non-call and the goal-tending called against Karim Abdul on Ryan Buenafe’s game-winning three-point play.
Jarencio said if needed, they are poised to go all the way to the board of trustees, which acted favorably to a previous protest (by NU) and ordered a replay.
More off-court developments swept the UAAP. As an offshoot of an altercation last Thursday at PhilSports, the league suspended FEU assistant coach Ronald Magtulis for one game and ruled that Mando Salva, father of Ateneo's Nico Salva, be "prohibited and not allowed to sit or stay in the patron/ringside area" and "not allowed access to the hallways."
The elder Salva yesterday voiced strong opposition to the UAAP's decision.
"I cannot believe that the Board has decided on something without hearing my side first," Salva said in a letter to the UAAP board.
"If you were truly concerned about the incident and the possible effects, you could have summoned me and I would have presented my side. Instead, you have denied me due process and subjected me to acute embarrassment arising from the various media stories. You simply made your decision which leaked to the media people," Salva said in a letter to the UAAP board.
Salva, a former UP varsity player, said he was merely protecting his son whom he claimed was threatened by Magtulis. He said Magtulis challenged Nico to a fistfight and when he was told of the incident he approached FEU coach Bert Flores and nicely asked him what Magtulis' problem with Nico was. Flores told him he would talk to Magtulis.
Moments later, the elder Salva said he saw Magtulis walking to his direction so he talked to him, and asked why Magtulis would challenge his son to a fistfight. The shouting match ensued before people around told Magtulis to just leave.
"I was just being a father – my son was threatened and I wanted to protect him. Surely ...the Board of Trustees can understand that. I did not physically harm Magtulis nor make any threatening motion. So it pains me to discover that you have chosen to disproportionately penalize me for this," Salva said.