MANILA -- Renzo Subido was a notable absence in Game 1 of the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup semifinals between Marinerong Pilipino and Zark's-Lyceum on Tuesday at the Pasig Sports Center in Pasig.

As it turned out, however, it was UST which said so.

The Skippers confirmed on Wednesday that the Growling Tigers pulled out Subido as they brace for the FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup, which kicks off on Saturday.

"With two weeks to go before the end of the season, UST abruptly decided to stop Subido from further playing for Marinero," Marinero said in a statement.

However, the team expressed dismay with UST's decision to "pull the plug" on Subido.

"UST's decision is baffling. Why pull the plug now? Why didn’t they stop Subido from joining the Marinero lineup before the tournament to be fair to the team?" the statement continued. "Is this right? Is it fair?"

The Skippers even believe that Subido is already ready to make a return to the Growling Tigers camp from a leave of absence even if he needs to miss some games in the FilOil tourney with the Skippers vying for the D-League crown.

"The UAAP tournament is still many months away. No need to fear Subido will not be ready for it," Marinero's statement further said.

Marinero then assured that Subido will return to UST a better player on and off the court.

"If Subido continues to play with the team, UST will be getting back a highly improved, skilled player. If anything, Subido will have been sharpened and more seasoned in the game because of Marinero... By letting Subido honor his commitment to Marinero, UST will give this player a more lasting lesson that he can apply in both his basketball career and his life," the statement concluded.

Despite missing Subido, the Skippers put up a fight against the Jawbreakers, building a 16-point lead in the third quarter of their semifinal match-up.

However, Marinero felt his absence come crunch time, when Zark's-Lyceum came back and stole a 90-87 win in overtime.

The Jawbreakers can eliminate the Skippers in Game 2 of their semifinal series at the Ynares Sports Arena still in Pasig on Thursday at 4 p.m.

Also looking to barge its way to the finals is Che'Lu-San Sebastian, which can officially knock out Akari-Adamson in Game 2 of their own best-of-three affair in the first game at 2 p.m. (PNA)