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Through all these troubled times, Sherwin Concepcion is the one who stayed in UST

Sherwin Concepcion wasn’t there when it was all happening.

While University of Santo Tomas was tearing itself into pieces in Sorsogon back in 2020, the sweet-shooting forward was back home in Tarlac. While the Growling Tigers themselves were clawing at each other, he was far away, 665 kilometers or 13 hours to be exact.

“Dapat pupunta ako, pero dahil lockdown pa nun, ‘di ako pinayagan, kahit ni mayor mismo,” he shared, referring to the controversial camp, allegedly for training, that still-suspended UST head coach Aldin Ayo organized in his home province in the summer during the peak of the pandemic two years ago. “Nung mga panahong yun, before pa mangyari yung mga nangyari, malungkot ako, kasi nagpapakahirap sila, ‘di ako nakasama.

“Gustong-gusto kong makapunta, pero ‘di talaga ako hinayaan ng pagkakataon.”

With or without Concepcion, a volcano was bound to erupt in Bicol – and it wasn’t the Mayon.

Stories differ, accounts differ, claims differ, but what’s sure is that erstwhile team captain CJ Cansino, as well as Bismarck Lina, left camp and headed home to Manila. The landslide of events quickly came thereafter. Concepcion wasn’t there with his teammates right then and there, but he saw to it to doing his part in trying to keep them together, still.

“Tumahimik lang ako nung una. Unang-una, wala naman ako dun, wala naman akong alam,” he noted. “Pero nung nagkagulo na, nag-message ako sa group chat at sa bawat isa rin.

“Sinasabi ko sa kanila, malalampasan natin ‘to, kaya natin ‘to kasi sayang na sayang naman yung pinagsamahan na natin.”

It was all for naught. Cansino, as well as Lina, wound up in UP. Rhenz Abando, Brent Paraiso, and Ira Bataller found their new home inside the Walls of Intramuros with Letran. Mark Nonoy and Deo Cuajao transferred to La Salle. Ayo was given an indefinite suspension by the UAAP. Also accounting for the graduations of Renzo Subido and Zachy Huang, the Growling Tigers hemorrhaged 3/4 of their players who went to the Season 82 finals and then also lost their shot-caller.

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That fall from grace would be a perfect subject for Secret Base’s Collapse YouTube series.UAAP-82-MBB-Finals-G2-ADMU-vs.-UST-Cansino-3255 Through all these troubled times, Sherwin Concepcion is the one who stayed in UST Basketball News UAAP UST  - philippine sports news

“Sobra-sobrang nakakalungkot lang na ganun yung nangyari. Nandun na kami e, inaantay na lang namin yung season ulit kasi buong-buo na kami,” expressed the now 25-year-old. “Nakakalungkot din kasi andami na rin naming pinagsamahan lahat, pero sa akin, ganun talaga, may mawawala, may papalit.

“Yung naging desisyon nila, nirespeto ko na lang din.”

When the storm past, the clouds cleared, and the sun shone anew, Concepcion found himself just one of the few left in Espana, with just Dave Ando and Migs Pangilinan the other remnants from their fantastic finals run. Actually, for him, there was no second-guessing the decision.

“Nag-stay ako sa UST kasi grabe yung suporta nila sa amin. Lalo nung (Season 82), hanggang dulo, ‘di nila kami iniwan,” he shared. “Kaya ako, ‘di ko rin sila iiwan. Talagang tinatak ko sa utak ko na kahit anong mangyari, ‘di ako aalis, kasi ito na lang pambawi ko sa kanila.”

Fast forward to now, and he has no regrets. Even after the season following the mass exodus turned out to be a 3-11 campaign, only good for seventh out of eight teams. While he wasn’t in the controversial camp in Sorsogon back in 2020, he was with UST in 2022 every step of the way, every agonizing loss that ultimately had them recording the worst point differential in the league at minus-238 – more than 30 points worse than winless UE.

“Masakit, siyempre. Nakakalungkot din,” he shared, reflecting on their lost season, which was nonetheless technically just the first year in a rebuild.

“Tinanggap na namin yun. Ganun talaga yung lumabas na resulta e. ‘Di talaga siguro namin season ngayong season.”

On a more personal note, after a fine first round when he averaged 13.7 points and 5.6 rebounds with a 38.7% clip from three, Concepcion struggled in the second round, and his final norms went down to 10.6 markers and 5.6 boards with a 29.7% mark from three, as defenses went all-out to get him out of his groove. And as their top gun struggled, so did the Growling Tigers, who exited the season on a six-game losing slide.

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Right smack in the middle of their downward spiral, Concepcion tweeted out an apology, speaking on behalf of the team, but mostly expressing what he was feeling.

“To the Thomasian community, sorry, sorry, sorry!” stated his post. “‘Di pa po tapos ang laban. Gagawin po namin lahat para sa inyo.”

The gesture was nice, without a doubt, but the black and gold’s next games weren’t so, as they dropped their assignments to La Salle by 29, Ateneo by 50, Adamson by 11, National U by 13, UP by 29, and FEU by 44.

Now at the end of it all, Concepcion offers no apologies. All he has is the belief that all will be better, especially if UST stays together this time around, rather than falling apart yet again.UAAP-84-Mens-Basketball-UST-vs-FEU-Sherwin-Concepcion Through all these troubled times, Sherwin Concepcion is the one who stayed in UST Basketball News UAAP UST  - philippine sports news

“Gusto ko ulit mag-post nang ganun, pero parang ‘di na tama yung oras at lugar. Sobrang frustrated kami, pero nagkulang din kami talaga sa materyales e,” he shared. “Marami pa kaming dapat i-improve. Basta lagi naming sinasabi sa isa’t-isa, together and family.

“Kahit anong problema, pagsbuok, mino-motivate namin isa’t-isa, kumukuha kami ng loob sa isa’t-isa.”

UST’s bounce back next season will definitely depend on whether or not its loyal soldier will bounce back himself. Even with continued improvement from Paul Manalang and Nic Cabanero, as well as the entry of Gani Stevens, the Growling Tigers need SherCon to be SherCon to be true to their system. On that, SherCon has one vow: he will give his all in his last year – One (last year) for UST.

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All UAAP games stream live on GigaPlay presented by Yamaha. Download it now on Android or IOS.SMART-x-Yamaha Through all these troubled times, Sherwin Concepcion is the one who stayed in UST Basketball News UAAP UST  - philippine sports news

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