'Game-fixing not in Ferrer, Daquioag's character'

MANILA, Philippines – A source close to both former UST Growling Tiger veterans Kevin Ferrer and Ed Daquioag vehemently denies that either player was involved in alleged game-fixing incidents.

The source, who has ties to both players, told Rappler in an interview on Thursday, January 28, that “it’s not in their character” for Ferrer and Daquioag to participate in game-fixing.

“These two athletes are goal-oriented and family-oriented. Hindi sila masisilaw sa ganitong bagay,” he said.

(They won’t be tempted by these kind of things.)

The source requested for anonymity with the hope that the topic will not become a bigger issue.

A report on Philippine-based sports site Fastbreak.com.ph says that the “UST administration has disbanded the Growling Tigers - including the players and its coaching staff - because of some coaches and players’ alleged involvement in game fixing and selling out games during the UAAP season concluded last December.”

The report, which has already reached an estimated 12,100 shares on Facebook as of posting time, also states that because of the “sellout” one of UST’s coaches and a top player have acquired brand new cars and are shopping for a “million-worth house.”

The report on Fastbreak, which does not contain an author's name, doesn’t specifically point out Ferrer and Daquioag as players who were part of the sellout. But towards the end of the article, there’s a mention of how the two had up-and-down games in terms of performance statistics in the best-of-3 finals against FEU.

The Tamaraws won the title after a closely-fought third game.

“I don’t know how credible this site is, because first, I’m looking for the writer. Then, parang (it’s somewhat) malicious eh,” the source close to Ferrer and Daquioag told Rappler.

“I know these two. I know their families, and why are they the ones being pointed out?” asked the source.

Both Ferrer and Daquioag finished in the top 5 of the recent UAAP men’s basketball MVP race. Both players averaged career-highs across the board, with Daquioag putting up 16.4 points and 5.6 rebounds a game while Ferrer posted 17.9 points and 8.2 rebounds a contest, per Humble Bola stats.

After scoring 15 and 29 points in Games 1 and 2 of the finals, respectively, Ferrer had only 6 points in Game 3. 

Daquioag had only 4 and 10 points in the first two games before scoring 21 in Game 3.

“It happens na masama laro nila,” the source said on the struggles of the players during the finals. “Ed played, really, the best basketball of his career during this season, tapos masama laro niya, doesn’t mean na bumenta na siya.

(It happens that they have bad games. Ed played, really, the best basketball of his career during this season, then just because he has bad games, doesn’t mean that he sold the game.)

“You know it happens,” the source said. “But it’s not in their character, plus I just hope that people won’t dive into this story just because it’s Kevin and Ed.”

The report on Fastbreak also indicates that UST head coach Bong Dela Cruz “was fired this month.” There was also a lot of speculation on social media that Dela Cruz was no longer UST’s head coach, especially since he was no longer practicing with the team.

Rappler tried to reach to Dela Cruz for comment but the coach did not respond.

On Wednesday, UST’s official student publication - The Varsitarian - reported that Dela Cruz is neither fired nor suspended, but is under probe, according to UST Institute of Physical Education and Athletics (IPEA) director Fr. Ermito de Sagon, O.P.

Rappler also reached out to UAAP basketball commissioner Rebo Saguisag, who says he has yet to read the report by Fastbreak and that no member of the UAAP board has yet to contact him about the situation.

No member of the board has as of yet contacted me. I don’t know if they will,” he said.

The Growling Tigers are still practicing, according to De Sagon, because they “cannot afford to miss training, otherwise they will end up out of shape.”  – Rappler.com