MANILA, Philippines -- De La Salle University played with limited manpower in its knockout game against Adamson University for the last Final 4 spot in UAAP Season 85.
Prolific guard Schonny Winston missed Sunday's game at the Mall of Asia, having reportedly been barred by team officials from joining the squad on the bus or on the bench.
But the Green Archers were also without two of their most crucial front court players in Kevin Quiambao and Michael Phillips in their 80-76 loss, wherein they squandered a 13-point advantage and were out-played in the end game by the Soaring Falcons.
"Kevin is positive for COVID," La Salle coach Derick Pumaren revealed after the game. "He tested negative today, but [the] protocol for UAAP is seven days quarantine, and he only had five days, five days pa lang."
Quiambao also missed La Salle's game against University of Santo Tomas last Wednesday.
Phillips, meanwhile, continues to complain about headaches and dizziness, and the Green Archers have yet to receive a concrete diagnosis of what ails their Filipino-American center.
"Michael is suffering from… I don't know," Pumaren admitted. "He's feeling dizzy up to now. Right after the [National University] game, we had to bring him to the hospital."
La Salle beat NU, 63-58, last November 23 with Phillips contributing nine points, 11 rebounds, three steals and a block in the win.
"They ran tests sa kanya, so he was cleared by cardiologists. The cardio is no problem. We had tests for MRI, EEG, things like that. So far, clear naman. But he still cannot practice, he's still suffering from dizziness and headaches," said Pumaren.
"So we're still trying to trace what's going on."
Quiambao and Phillips combined to average 20.63 points and 16.84 rebounds per game for the Green Archers. Pumaren admits that he hoped to have at least one of them available for Sunday's do-or-die affair, but ultimately had to do without either player.
"I was expecting at least two guys will play, at least Kevin will play. 'Cause he was tested negative this morning. But unfortunately, hindi pa rin, hindi pa rin. UAAP did not allow him," said the multi-titled coach.
It was the latest in a string of personnel woes for the Green Archers in Season 85. Tipped to be a championship contender ahead of the men's basketball tournament, La Salle was unable to live up to expectations as they struggled with injuries and suspensions.
"The disappointing part is not having a full line-up every game. We were not able to show our full potential, as I've been saying, dahil nga every game merong wala. From injury, whatever, even suspension, meron pa rin," said Pumaren.
"Lahat siguro, tinamaan kami. That's why I've been asking for a break, 'no," he added. "Probably, God has other plans for us."
UAAP Season 85 is streaming on iWantTFC every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, available for Premium users outside the Philippines.