UAAP: UE coach says Precious Momowei suspension ‘unfair’
MANILA, Philippines — University of the East coach Jack Santiago felt the suspension of Precious Momowei was unfair as it also disqualified the top rookie from winning any individual award in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament.
Santiago shared the Red Warriors appealed Momowei’s suspension right away but was turned down by the league even after UE president Dr. Zosimo M. Battad called for an emergency meeting on Wednesday morning prior to his resignation as the UAAP Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Season 86.
“We know it’s gonna be hard for the kid because he knew that it’s gonna be a big game today and aside from that, he’s leading the Rookie of the Year. He lost all of it,” said Santiago in Filipino. “For me, it’s unfair for the kid to easily lose a chance for that hard-earned award. Not all the players win that kind of award.”
Santiago insisted that the second unsportsmanlike foul called against Momowei this season that led to his suspension should have been just a regular foul with the 6-foot-9 big man just battling for a rebound with La Salle’s Kevin Quiambao during the second quarter of UE’s loss to La Salle on Sunday.
“Because we submitted video clips not only on Momowei but also the video clips of other games that for us. We showed them the video that there was contact and foul. But to give him that heavy penalty to cause his suspension was unfair for the kid,” said Santiago.
UE players rallied behind Momowei, who was leading the Rookie of the Year race after the first round, and their president as they wore white tapes with a ‘Free. P’ and ‘Pres. Battad’ on their jerseys in their 80-74 loss to the Ateneo Blue Eagles on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Noy Remogat wrote “ROTY# 21” the jersey number of his teammate on the tape on his left wrist.
“When the players learned about that during our pregame talk sa dugout, all of a sudden nakita ko na lang yung mga players that they’re putting a tape kala ko nga with Precious nakita ko rin yung pangalan ni president,” Santiago said.
Santiago remained proud of his team for putting up a fight against Ateneo before bombing out of the Final Four race with a 4-9 record.
“I’m so proud of the boys not only in the fourth quarter but the whole game. They responded well because I challenged and dared them that if you think you cannot play, just be man enough to tell me and don’t show up But all of them went out and responded well inside,” he said.
Santiago admitted that the morale of the Red Warriors is low ahead of their no-bearing duel against the Adamson Falcons on Sunday but they need to finish strong for the school.
“I told the boys it’s gonna be hard for us since our next game will be on Sunday just imagine we’ll prepare for a game that we know that there’s no bearing at all but again we are players, we need to finish the tournament. Their morale is low but we have to embrace the situation right now and end UAAP Season 86 on a winning note,” he said.