MANILA, Philippines -- Schonny Winston bid goodbye to De La Salle University on Sunday night, vowing to be an "Archer at heart" even as he remains at odds with the team regarding the status of his calf injury.
Winston did not play in La Salle's 80-76 defeat to Adamson University in their knockout game for the last spot in the UAAP Season 85 Final 4. The Filipino-American guard was not even on the bench, instead watching from the stands with his father.
It was reported during the fourth quarter of the game that Winston was not allowed on the team bench and the team bus, amid allegations from team officials that he had not tried hard enough to recover from a calf injury sustained in the first round.
"Thank you, La Salle," Winston tweeted after the game. "I will always be an Archer at heart. Few know, but I suffered a torn calf after the first and [I've] been trying to make a recovery ever since."
"I guess it wasn't quick enough. Wish I could have competed tonight," he added.
Winston did not dispute the report from sports website Spin that he was barred from joining the Green Archers, though he made it clear that he suffered from a torn calf and not a calf strain. The guard was the leading Most Valuable Player candidate after the first round but missed their next four games, and then played a combined 22 seconds in the final three games of the eliminations.
"Calf strain lol? … a torn calf," he said. "I will always support my brothers whether I’m allowed on the bench or have to buy tickets to the game."
However, De La Salle head coach Derick Pumaren said after the game that Winston had already been cleared by the team doctors.
"He was cleared to train without restrictions na. He was cleared to play without restrictions," said Pumaren.
The coach refused to comment on the report that Winston had been barred from joining the team.
"I have no comment on that. I think in due time, La Salle will come out with a statement regarding that," he said.
Pumaren also said he had no knowledge of reports that Winston had signed a professional contract elsewhere, hence his reluctance to suit up for the Green Archers.
"I have no idea there," he said.
Winston was not the only La Salle player to miss the game against Adamson; the Green Archers were also without Kevin Quiambao (health protocols) and Michael Phillips (dizziness).
According to Pumaren, Quiambao tested negative for COVID-19 on the day of the game, but had not yet completed the seven-day quarantine period mandated by the UAAP. Phillips, meanwhile, continues to suffer from dizziness and headaches. He has undergone several tests and has been cleared by a cardiologist.
"Right after the NU game, we had to bring him to the hospital," said Pumaren. "He still cannot practice, he's still suffering from dizziness and headaches. So we're still trying to trace what's going on."
UAAP Season 85 is streaming on iWantTFC every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, available for Premium users outside the Philippines.