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Willie Wilson leaves UE, accuses Jack Santiago of betrayal

After bouncing around two schools, Willie Wilson is heading home instead. The Varsitarian (file photo)
By Stewart Tan

MANILA—University of the East loses another player in American guard Willie Wilson, who accused head coach Jack Santiago of betrayal.

In a lengthy Facebook post on Friday, Wilson confirmed the rumors that he has left the university and will pursue his basketball career in the United States.

"I am heartbroken that I was denied the opportunity to represent (UE) and help compete for the UAAP Championship. I was looking forward to going to battle with my teammates on the basketball court and to bring a championship," Wilson said.

"I will continue to pursue my educational and basketball career in the U.S. and will keep (my followers) updated on my progress," the American guard added.

Wilson then went on to accuse Santiago of "betrayal" for making him believe that he was the Red Warriors' foreign student athlete for UAAP Season 86 but another one was serving residency while in abroad.

"I was encouraged and excited and looked forward to Season 86 and to finally play with Gani (Stevens) and the rest of the team. Having been a constant presence in the UE MBT events, I was led to believe that I secured the FSA slot for Season 86," he said.

"In fact, it was not until January 2023, that we were informed by Coach Jack that the other FSA decided to remain home," he added. "I was made aware that I should meet with Coach Jack to reaffirm my status as the incoming FSA for Season 86."

During the conversation, Wilson said, he was "perplexed" as to why his status as FSA was suddenly in jeopardy since nothing had been communicated to him. 

"As the lone FSA on campus, and my active presence in all team activities, I was under the impression that the spot was mine. Surprisingly, my father was also notified by someone who was told the same thing," Wilson said. 

After multiple and directed inquiries with Santiago, he then admitted to having a one-and-done FSA from the United States for Season 86 aside from Wilson.

"Having withheld this information from us this whole time, we felt betrayed since we agreed to transparency upon my commitment," Wilson exclaimed. 

"We were only aware of the initial FSA, who had since rescinded his name from consideration, and no one else," he added. "Coach Jack alluded to our team’s struggle with rebounding in Season 85 for the need to have another FSA."

"I was sold on the idea that if I attended and passed my classes and performed on the court that I would be the FSA for Season 86. Instead, all along Coach Jack knew there was another FSA spending his residency in the US while enrolled in online classes," he further said.

Wilson also exclaimed that it was pretty evident that having another FSA for UAAP Season 86 had been long in the works, an information that was withheld from Wilson and his family.

"All the resources that my family dedicated towards the pursuit of my dream of playing basketball in season 86 was fueled by Coach Jack’s misrepresentation and deceit," Wilson said.

"We never once asked for a handout; all we wanted was a fair shot at proving that I would be a capable player for UE for the upcoming Season, which Coach Jack promised us," he added.

Wilson also narrated that a meeting was scheduled between his parents and Santiago but the latter never showed up. 

"To kill what little hope I had left in him; I left my final practice, which my parents attended, without any of us hearing a goodbye from him," Wilson said.

"As long as Coach Jack is at the helm in UE, I no longer have interest in the program and feel for those who have to continue their basketball careers under his leadership or lack thereof," he added.

The 6-foot-3 Wilson arrived in the country last year along with high school teammate Gani Stevens to play for the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers.

However, after over a month of playing for the Growling Tigers in pre-season tournaments, Wilson and Stevens decided to leave the EspaƱa campus for the Red Warriors.

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  1. When you transferred from UST to UE isn't that betrayal too?

    1. Seek to understand before commenting.

    2. Do you think if UST adhere to what had been agreed Willie will transfer to UE?UST being known prestigious school than UE.

    3. Lol dumb-ass comment.

  2. what a pity, a guy trying his best to get into the team, and this happens.

  3. Kids look to adults for guidance, leadership, and transparency to make decisions and pursue their passion. It is unfortunate that things did not workout for both parties.

  4. "the grass ain't always greener on the other side"

  5. is he good enough? baka UE had someone better and taller

  6. Can't believe people are actually saying "karma" and "good riddance" etc to Wilson. If this really is true, then Santiago just screwed a kid out of a playing career. Then again, if and when others learn of this I guess they'll know his word means nothing at all..