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Obiena reaffirms loyalty to PH amid PATAFA row 

Obiena’s goal remains clear: to win gold medals and to constantly fight to bring honor and glory for his mother nation.

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Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Aleksandra Szmigiel

Despite offers from different countries, Thomasian pole vaulter EJ Obiena clarified that he has no desire to change nationalities and will continue to represent the Philippines despite on-going issues with the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA). 

In a Facebook status posted on Monday evening, Obiena affirmed the statements of his long-time mentor James Lafferty that several countries desired to take in Obiena’s services, with some offers being as long as several years ago while some have ‘lucrative pay packages’ to compete for their flag. 

Obiena denied these offers as he values the importance of loyalty and love for the nation, despite bigger wages from other countries and the on-going crisis with the PATAFA.

“I will never abandon my nation because of money. That [is] not loyalty. At least that [is] not how I define it,” said Obiena. 

“Even now, in this current crisis, I have no desire to change nations,” he added. 

At the end of the post, Obiena’s goal remains clear: to win gold medals and to constantly fight to bring honor and glory for his mother nation. 

“Others fight for ego or power, but that [is]not me. I fight for higher principles. Loyalty is a virtue. And loyalty still matters,” Obiena ended his statement.

PATAFA ordered Obiena to return 85,000 euros (around P4.8 million) in finances intended to cover the wage of his Ukrainian coach, Vitaly Petrov while claiming that the Olympian falsified liquidation reports he submitted to the federation.

With these allegations, Obiena initially demanded a public apology and mulled about retiring from international competition.

Ernest Martin Tuazon
Sports Writer | + posts
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Chabi Yo bids UST goodbye, signs with Spanish team

Chabi Yo admitted that the pandemic ultimately affected his decision to go semi-pro in Europe.

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Christine Annmarie Tapawan/TomasinoWeb

UAAP Season 82 most valuable player Soulemane Chabi Yo parts ways with UST as he heads to Europe to play for a division 4 team in Spain.

The 6-foot-6 Beninese center will forego his final playing year for the University which is currently aimed to be held by mid-February of 2022.

“We are grateful for his playing years with UST and we wish him nothing but the best in his international basketball career,” Growling Tigers coach Jinino Manansala told TomasinoWeb.

Chabi Yo admitted that the pandemic ultimately affected his decision to go semi-pro in Europe.

“My plan was to finish my playing years in UST before leaving but since COVID came, that destroyed all the plans of everyone,” he wrote to coach Manansala.

When Chabi Yo told UST and its coaching staff about his decision, he mentioned that the time has come to pursue his personal goals.

“I already turn[ed] down so many offers each year but this time I decided to grab the opportunity. I still have a lot of things to improve. I wish I could stay but I also have my personal dreams and goals to achieve,” he added.

Chabi Yo dominated the UAAP during his one-and-done year, bagging the MVP title with 16.9 points per game and a league-best 14.7 rebounds per game. 

The 25-year-old big man was vital to UST’s finals run in 2019 as he led UST to a second-place finish, the University’s best placing since 2015.

With Chabi Yo’s departure, 6-foot-8 Senegal native and former NU Bulldog Adama Faye will serve as the University’s foreign student-athlete come UAAP Season 84.

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EJ Obiena surpasses Asian record, snags gold in Austria meet

Obiena’s record-breaking 5.93-meter jump surpassed the 5.92-meter Asian record of Kazakhstan’s Igor Potapovich in 1988.

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Photo courtesy of Johanna Geron/Reuters

Thomasian pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena breaks the 1988 Asian record, and went with a gold finish at the 2021 Golden Roof Challenge in Austria on Saturday, September 11 (Sunday, September 12, Manila Time).

Obiena’s record-breaking 5.93-meter jump surpassed the 5.92-meter Asian record of Kazakhstan’s Igor Potapovich in 1988.

Obiena was assured of bagging the gold medal as his opponent bowed out at the height of 5.80 meters.

Still, the Thomasian pole vaulter was eager to clear 5.93 meters.

Obiena successfully vaulted over the 5.93-meter mark in his last attempt, leaving a mark in the Asian Pole vaulting history.

The Filipino pole vaulter also surpassed his own national record of 5.91m which he set in the Paris Diamond League last August 28.

USA’s Matt Ludwig settled for silver, while Turkish native Ersu Sasma finished bronze.

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