What about the other players?-A A +A
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
THE Southwestern University (SWU) Cobras dumped arch rival University of the Visayas 64-52 Tuesday night at the Cebu Coliseum to draw first blood in their championship series of this year’s Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) basketball tournament. That was SWU’s fourth straight win over UV this year as it continued its dominance over the Lancers.
As exciting as the SWU-UV rivalry always is, there is another series that is and will always be talked about in the same breath and with the same passion by sports fans even if it has yet to be played, if it will be played at all.
Indeed, things look uncertain for the Cesafi tournament’s high school division where all remaining games have been suspended indefinitely by the league following the issuance of a temporary restraining order by a Cebu regional trial court judge.
Judge Simeon Dumdum Jr. and I became lawyers within one year of each other. As law students, we both worked as typists in the vice governor’s office at the Capitol.
After we passed the bar examinations we joined the same law office.
When he became a judge and I lost my first case before him, I advised my client not to appeal. That was how much I trusted his fairness and competence. I still do.
On the other hand, since 1967, I have been actively involved in basketball as spectator, club player, sports reporter, team owner and manager, league president, tournament commissioner and regional director of the Basketball Association of the Philippines.
I peeped through the holes of the old UV gym to watch Raul Latonio, Filomeno Chuntic and the Lancers play against the Yco team of Robert Jaworski. I witnessed a number of brawls on the court and figured in some of them even when I was already a lawyer. As commissioner and later, BAP regional director, I resolved several controversies mostly on the eligibility of players.
None of them ever reached the courts.
I was around when the mother of Scott Aying came to see lawyer Omar Redula at Radio 5 to seek help for his son, who she said was publicly humiliated by Cesafi Commissioner Boy Tiukinhoy during a game at the Cebu Coliseum. I knew her husband, Danny; he used to play for SWU when I was team manager of the UV. From the way she talked, it was obvious that she was the one who was really hurting.
Her son was being discriminated against, she claimed, and she dropped hints that it was done to favor a school whose top official was also a Cesafi top official. The two-year residency requirement for transferees from Cesafi member schools should not apply to her son because he went to San Beda after playing for Don Bosco. Omar advised her to appeal Tiukinhoy’s decision to the Cesafi Board.
She did and went farther. After the Board upheld Scott’s disqualification, the mother and Danny sued Tiukinhoy and Cesafi to compel them to allow Scott to play. The case was raffled to another judge who, however, inhibited because one of the parties was his friend.
So it went to Judge Dumdum, who issued a TRO against Tiukinhoy, who promptly postponed the USC game, and against the Cesafi Board, which canceled all the remaining high school games until further notice.
This is about the child who is the weakest among all citizens, we are told. But what about the other players, who have been qualified without question and whose games have been rudely interrupted? Aren’t they children, too?
And shouldn’t this also be about basketball?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 26, 2013.