Former UST star saddened by controversies created by ‘Sorsogon bubble’ August 28, 2020 | Filed under: Sports , UAAP | Posted by: Tempo Desk 0 SHARES Share Tweet
Estong Ballesteros with former UST coaches Pido jarencio (left photo) and the late Aric del Rosario. (Photos from Estong Ballesteros’ Facebook account)
By Kristel Satumbaga
As a former University of Santo Tomas (UST) player – make it a star player – Estong Ballesteros admits he gets hurts to see his alma mater get involved in a controversy especially in the sport closest to his heart.
“Masakit (as an alumnus),” the 47-year-old former PBA player said.
“Pero ayoko rin namang maging biased sa lahat. Pilit ko lang iniintindi ang side ni Coach Aldin Ayo, pati na rin ng mga bata.”
Ballesteros can speak from experience both as player and coach, having been part of UST’s four-peat team in 1996.
After an 11-year stint in the PBA, he delved into coaching and was an assistant coach for University of the East.
Ballesteros wants to point out both sides involving UST coach Aldin Ayo and his men’s basketball team that reportedly breached health protocols by holding a training bubble in Sorsogon.
“May kakulangan talaga (management). Kasi sa bandang huli, call naman ng coach yan. Ang mga bata, susunod lang naman yan sa coach nila kasi kumbaga, parang tatay na rin nila yan eh,” he said.
He said the coaching staff could have opted to follow government health protocols and adjust into it by conducting online workouts.
“Kasama naman ang pressure sa pagko-coach eh. Ang akin lang, dapat sana napag-isipan nang mabuti yung plano. Kasi mahirap pumasok sa isang bagay kung hindi mo alam kung paano ka lalabas,” he said.
“Ang nangyari tuloy, kawawa yung mga bata.”
Ballesteros understood the sentiments of the players who have been reportedly on training lockdown since June, saying it was tough to be away from their families especially during this time of pandemic.
“Kami noon, practice lang sa gym. Nakakasama namin pamilya namin. Etong mga batang to, malayo sa pamilya. So maiintindihan mo rin yung sentimyento nila,” he said.
However, players should know there was no easy path in achieving dreams.
“As a player, alam mong kailangan mong dumaan sa hirap para maabot ang mga pangarap mo. Kailangan tiisin mo yan. Pagsubok yan eh. Pano ka magiging matatag kung dito pa lang sumusuko ka na?” Ballesteros said.
“Ang number one dyan yung disiplina mo sa sarili mo, kung paano ka mag-a-adjust sa kung anong meron ka ngayon. Wala na yan sa kung ano ang kinakain mo during training eh. Ang mahalaga, may kinakain ka.”
Ballesteros couldn’t help but reminisce about his time playing for UST under the late legendary coach Aric Del Rosario. He said a scholarship and a chance to play for the university were enough for him.
“Yung practice namin non sa umaga, minsan may dala pang pandesal si coach Aric. Masaya na kami noon kapag pinakain kami sa (Chicken) Savory. Basta makapag-aral nang libre, mabigyan ng sapatos… yung pride at puso, ganun kami noon eh.”
Ballesteros hopes the school, the coaches and the players will overcome this obstacle and rise above the challenge.
“Taga-UST ka eh. Laban lang,” he said.