UNIVERSITY of Cebu (UC) Webmasters team manager and acting coach Baldomero Estenzo never thought he would be caught in a frustrating situation two months before to the opening of the 2015 Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) basketball season.
After building up a team ready for the 2015 season, UC lost two vital players—rookie point guard Shane Menina and forward Mark Obado — to Mapua Institute of Technology Cardinals.
“I have mixed feelings about this. I am terribly disappointed that that they did not even have the courtesy to ask permission or even just inform UC or Atty. Augusto Go about their plan to transfer. But at the same time, I am happy because I will not have players in the team whose loyalties are questionable. Finally, I am hopeful that the other players will step up and prove themselves worthy of carrying UC in all the games they will be playing, ” Estenzo said.
Menina was the run-away scoring champion of the 2015 Cebu City Mayor’s Cup Invitational Tournament, which was participated by Malaysia National Men’s Basketball team, Mapua Cardinals, University of San Carlos Warriors and the UC Webmasters.
Estenzo admitted that three other players got offers to join the Cardinals –Garciano Puerto, Felvinson Culango and Melvin Botohan—but only the two agreed.
“Basketball is a team game. I believe that a team is only as strong as its weakest member on the floor. Besides, I only want our players to play their best when fielded because that reflects the character of UC students who should do their best in anything they do. Winning is just like icing on the cake,” Estenzo said.
Estenzo admitted he was caught by surprise.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect this. You know, I really chose small players so that we won’t have problems with Manila teams pirating Cebu players. I got very complacent and there were already negotiations behind my back,” Estenzo said.
UC has been the target of player piracy from Manila schools. The latest was Francis Tamsi, who is now with the Far Eastern University. Another FEU star, Roger Pogoy, is also from UC.
“My worries (for Menina) are that he might be asked to go back to high school because he is still 16 years old. Like what had happened to Martin Pierce and Jerie Pingoy (also pirated by UAAP teams). Look at where Pierce is now? And Pingoy is still waiting to be given the green light to play in the UAAP. Sayang kaayo ang oras ba,” Estenzo said.