Without bias, Ballesteros understand sentiments, side of Ayo, Tigers
Estong Ballesteros Pido Jarencio Aric del Rosario
Former Growling Tiger Estong Ballesteros admits feeling “hurt” after hearing news about the controversy involving his alma mater University of Santo Tomas. With him in the photos were former UST coaches Pido Jarencio and late Aric del Rosario. (Photos from Estong Ballesteros’ Facebook account)

As a former University of Santo Tomas cager, Estong Ballesteros says it hurts to see his alma mater get involved in a controversy involving the sport he loved most.

“Masakit (as an alumnus),” the 47-year-old former PBA player told the Manila Bulletin.

“Pero ayoko rin namang maging biased sa lahat. Pilit ko lang iniintindi ang side ni Coach Aldin Ayo, pati na rin ng mga bata.”

READ: UST Tigers coach Aldin Ayo breaks silence on CJ Cansino’s exit, training bubble

Ballesteros can speak from experience both as player and coach, having been part of UST’s four-peat team in 1996. He also played the year before. After an 11-year stint in the PBA, he moved into coaching and was an assistant coach for University of the East.

Ballesteros wants to point out both sides involving Ayo and his men’s basketball team that apparently breached health protocols by holding a training bubble in Sorsogon.

READ: UST in hot water as CJ Cansino bares alleged group chat discussing Sorsogon ‘bubble’ life

“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.”

READ: CJ Cansino dismisses claims on ‘fast’ UP recruitment, circulating talks about bubble life in Sorsogon

Ballesteros understands 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 that there is no easy path to achieving one’s dreams, says Ballesteros.

“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.”

READ: UST expected to submit findings on alleged training bubble to UAAP Thursday

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 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.

READ: Allein Maliksi recalls life in UST amid controversies: Siomai rice lang recovery meal na

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2020/08/27/uaap-ex-tiger-estong-ballesteros-admits-feeling-hurt-amid-ust-controversy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=uaap-ex-tiger-estong-ballesteros-admits-feeling-hurt-amid-ust-controversy)