Barroca or FEU? Who do we believe?
Stunned. That was my initial reaction when this whole hulabalu started. Primarily because I have had so much respect for FEU and their program this past 2 years. Specially after that whole shooting incident of Baracael which pretty much made the team closer. And then from the focus and determination that I have noticed from them this year, real hunger to win the title on their hosting year. Yes they may have had not so sharp games too, but seeing how they competed hard this year, you’d doubt something like this could creep in and get thru the cracks.
I first read about the situation after a friend sent me a text to check out Rick Olivares’ blog. And low behold Rick broke the news that there was a major meeting going on at FEU with regards to the allegations against Andy.
For the record, FEU has not come out with anything with regards to any investigation nor any game fixing allegations. What came out, as odd as it was, was conflicting statements from 3 different people when the Inquirer dropped by their practice. First Coach Glenn said he had no idea where Andy was, baka may pinuntahan daw, then Team Captain JR Cawaling said Andy has flu symptoms and is in quarantine at the chapel so he wont infect others, and a team staffer said that he has an unknown injury.
So with them not directly addressing the “game fixing” issue, or at least to confirm the meeting or investigation, the fact that 3 dif team members had totally different excuses, you know something not so good is going on.
As for Barroca, his manager Ed Ponceja has spoken up. Thru a gmanews.tv story (although I am confused as to who wrote this coz blogger firequinto said in his tweet it was Rey Joble’s exclusive scoop. But Joble writes for Manila Standard. Maybe he contributed to gmanews.tv coz MS is very slow and has no breaking news online) Poncejas shared Andy is very hurt with the accusation and is quitting, he will now focus on finishing his degree and playing for Smart Gilas. May lamat na daw, bakit pa daw pipilitin.
So that’s what has been said officially from both sides.
Lets look back at history on “similar” instances. As I’ve said so far FEU has yet to say anything specific re the allegations, lest even mention any form of evidence that may have urged them to “investigate”.
In a case not too long ago, a player was suspended for clearly breaking a team rule. All cellphones were to be given up, and he was caught with a 2nd one. This happened late in the season. Reason enough then to doubt him or even in a way “confirm” his dubious “off-games” so some people thought. Fine. But the team was firm, he broke a rule and broke trust, ‘nuff said.
In another case, the player was taken out early in the season. The team said he also broke a rule but was not very clear with what that rule was. Word spread quickly after that that supposedly that player was on the take and that the evidence the team had was his text messages to his teammates supposedly “recruiting” them to join his “gimik”. I even heard that team was hell bent on filing a case at the end of the season para may “masampolan” na. But the case never happened and it seemed like all that “dirt” was swept under the rug.
And now this, on the eve of the Final Four weekend, the league gets rocked with this controversy. You have one side, the team so far totally skirting the issue, even denying there was a meeting. Making up 3 different excuses for his absence to boot. Then the other side, his manager confirming the rumors that indeed he had been accused so why even still insist to play with them.
So for what ever its worth, lets let those statements of the manager, plus the report of Rick, that the meeting did take place and those accusations were made. But the question remains, who made those accusations and what compelled them to do so? Was there physical proof again? Or was it simply them being “so sure” his poor performances were intentional?
As we await Mr Montinola’s official statement, as he said in the proper time they will speak, the public is left in a guessing game as to what went down and who do we believe.
If you were Andy and say you were innocent, would you rather stay and fight to clear your name? Or would you get pissed and walk away. But what if say you were guilty and you felt the best way out was to walk away and not put up a fake fight?
I am not one to be naïve and pretend this stuff does not happened in local basketball, and mind you not a single league is sparred. I have spoken to many individuals who have deep knowledge of how it works and how its done. Very simple, very tempting, and yes your team can even still win, just play the “spread”.
So with my eyes open wide and having an open mind to all of this, I always ask what’s the proof? I will never take stats as the end all of evidence to prove that just coz a game or two of this guy that was way too bad, he has gone of the cliff already. If it’s a text message, an envelope full of cash, or a car suddenly sent to your family in the province. Whatever it is, we need evidence. And honestly, I hope and pray that one day we will see someone and the group behind them get convicted. But it will take major balls from the team or teams involved. It’s a challenge to the league as well to put their money where their mouth is and not just make motherhood press releases every start of the season that they “condemn” game fixing, sure.
For now it’s such a tough call and all we hope for, at least I do, is for the team to gather their bearings and still give it their best shot this weekend. Coz at the end of the day, they owe it to their school, their fans, and the league – that no matter who is wearing that green and yellow jersey they will give it their 100% effort. And lets hope this time around the crap, if there is any, will not be swept under the rug. If there is evidence, bring it out, file a case and lets get the wheels of justice rolling.