Schonny Winston watched helplessly from the stands as De La Salle University came up short of making it to the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 men’s basketball Final Four following a heartbreaking 76-80 defeat at the hands of Adamson University in the playoff for the No. 4 seed on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
In a controversial ending to his collegiate career, Winston was spotted at the venue but not on the Green Archers’ bench despite getting the clearance to play.
The outgoing cager was leading the Most Valuable Player race until he suffered a left calf injury at the end of the first round in an overtime loss to the Falcons.
Since then, Winston missed La Salle’s first four games in the second round and played for a combined 22 seconds in the last three eliminations games of the team.
The team initially released that Winston sustained a strain but the player in a social media post said otherwise.
“Calf strain lol? … a torn calf. I will always support my brothers whether I’m allowed on the bench or have to buy tickets to the game can’t stop my love for them,” he posted on Twitter on Sunday.
A report quoted that was allegedly told that he “cannot come with the team or sit on the bus and participate” in the knockout game.
“Thank you, La Salle. I will always be an Archer at heart. Few know but I suffered a torn calf after the first round and I have been trying to make a recovery ever since but I guess it wasn’t quick enough… wish I could have competed – Love y’all thanks for the support!!” Winston wrote in a separate post.
La Salle head coach Derrick Pumaren declined to dip his hands in the controversial development.
“Well, I have no comment on that. I think in due time, La Salle will come out with a statement regarding that,” he said.
“It’s internal with us right now. Let’s just keep it that way.”
The mentor, however, cleared that Winston was given the green light to train and play.
“Yes, yes. He was cleared to train without restrictions. He was cleared to play without restrictions,” Pumaren said.
Aside from Winston, La Salle also missed the services of projected Rookie of the Year Kevin Quiambao and Mike Phillips.
“Kevin is positive for COVID. He tested negative today (Sunday) but protocol for UAAP is seven days quarantine. So, he only had five days,” Pumaren said.
“Michael is suffering from… I don’t know. He’s feeling up to now. Right after the NU game, we had to bring him to the hospital. They ran tests on him, so he was cleared by cardiologists. The cardio is no problem. We had tests for MRI, EEG, things like that.”
“So far, the results are clear. But he still cannot practice, he’s still suffering from dizziness and headaches. So, we’re still trying to trace what’s going on.”