MANILA - Rendell Senining of the ARQ Builders-Lapu-Lapu City Heroes has apologized for his actions in the controversial VisMin Super Cup game against the Siquijor Mystics on Wednesday.
In the aftermath of the game, fines and suspensions were imposed on Senining as well as the rest of his teammates and the Lapu-Lapu coaching staff.
The league also slapped a lifetime ban on the Siquijor Mystics’ players and coaches, which means they are no longer allowed to compete even if they play or coach for another team.
Out of the multiple questionable plays seen during the game, Senining's stood out. A clip of the Lapu-Lapu guard shooting free throws, first with his left hand, followed by his right in the second attempt circulated and eventually went viral online.
Many famous basketball personalities in the country took to social media to share their frustrations about the matchup, including Kiefer Ravena, Paul Lee and Marc Pingris.
In an interview with former University of the Philippines star and now YouTube content creator Mikee Reyes, Senining explained his and his team’s side of the story.
According to Senining, he could already sense there was something wrong with the opposing Siquijor squad, as their body language seemed odd and they were letting him and his teammates convert easy baskets.
“Going into the second quarter parang dun namin napansin -- actually lumapit yung mga officials, yung head coach namin tapos yung head coach nila na ayusin yung laro,” said Senining when asked when they started to notice something odd.
“Kung ano man yung sineserve nila sa amin, we just served it back to them.” he added.
Senining further explained that all the questionable plays he and the rest of the Lapu-Lapu Heroes committed -- from the missed free throws to the intentional fouls -- were out of emotion and frustration caused by Siquijor's alleged unwillingness to play seriously.
“That was not to disrespect the game, but for us lang na itigil na yung laro na 'to,” he put it.
He also added that they did not want to walk out as it would be a bad move on their part. Instead, they decided to play "unwillingly", in the hopes that the game would be stopped.
Senining also acknowledged that his free throw attempts were questionable, but attempted to explain his actions.
Prior to his viral foul line attempts, Senining said that he was fouled hard by one of the Siquijor players and from there he was just fueled by frustration.
“Nung free throw that triggered me -- my emotions were very high. I forgot nga na naka-live pala kami, kase the venue was very quiet,” he also added, noting that it felt like a practice game, especially with the way Siquijor was playing.
However, the Cebu native was also quick to admit that, in a way, he also disrespected the game with his free throw attempts.
Senining also wanted to clear all the narratives about the game fixing accusations that emerged after their controversial contest.
“I'm gonna be straight forward. Walang game fixing na nangyari,” he stressed.
Senining mentioned the team owners and Lapu-Lapu’s coaching staff who handled the basketball programs of the provincial branches of Ateneo, explaining that they came to the league to, in his words, “play the game right”.
As of this writing, Senining has been suspended for the rest of the Chooks to Go VisMin Supercup tournament, and will be fined P15,000. However, the former University of San Jose Recoletos standout hopes that the VisMin Supercup will reconsider their decision, now that he has shared his side of the story.