‘Game-fixing’ rocks Kadayawan tournament-A A +A
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
NO CHAMPIONS were crowned in what could have been the final day of the Mayor Rody and Vice Mayor Pulong Duterte Kadayawan Commercial Invitational Basketball Tournament Tuesday.
Basketball-loving Dabawenyos, who usually troop the Almendras Gym Davao City Recreation Center, waited in vain as organizers called off the tournament due to a suspected manipulation of the game during the crucial Goldstar Hardware-Montaña Pawnshop clash Monday night.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) in Davao Region legal counsel Ruben Abarquez, in an emergency press conference at Dimsum Diner Matina Tuesday, said: "No championship game will be played tonight. This is a very unfortunate ending of the tournament."
The press conference was called after organizers, headed by Sports Development Division of the City Mayor's Office (SDD-CMO) officer-in-charge William "Butch" Ramirez and SBP regional director Regino "Boy" Cua, deliberated with the coaches of Goldstar Hardware, Montaña Pawnshop, The Royal Mandaya Hotel-City Mayor's Office (SDD-CMO) and Omega Pain Killer of Cebu in a private meeting at the same restaurant.
Present during the meeting were Nick Serafica and Peter Epe of Montaña; Ice Gravador, Jigger Saniel and Roderick Conda of Goldstar; Miguel Solitaria and Marcel Antonio Melendres of TRMH-CMO; and Bong Abad, Titing Manalili and Teroy Albarillo; SDD-CMO deputy chief Goldie Delvo and SBP technical committee's Macario Cabonce.
Ramirez said they gave coaches of Goldstar and Montaña due process by validating what transpired in their game where the latter defeated Goldstar, 72-65.
Goldstar, Montaña and TRMH-CMO figured in a three-way tie by toting similar two-win, one-loss card following the controversial match.
In the tournament format, the top two teams after the single round-robin eliminations will play for the title while the last two squads will battle for third.
But since three teams were tied and shared the first to third places, the quotient system will apply.
Goldstar had a +2 following a stunning 75-66 upset victory over defending champion TRMH-CMO on Sunday night. Montaña got zero after losing to TRMH-CMO, 70-77, and winning over Goldstar, 72-65. TRMH-CMO, for its part, held a -2 following a seven-point win over Montaña and nine-point loss to Goldstar.
The seven-point loss of Goldstar, thus, denied TRMH-CMO a finals seat.
Ramirez, who witnessed the game, said Goldstar was trailing behind but there was "no intensity to catch up" and "no coach was complaining about bad calls" unlike that past two nights where coaches were questioning referees' decisions on the court.
He added that referees, technical officials and spectators have observed that the game was manipulated.
The former Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chair also said they heard some fans shouting, "Luto (cooked)!", "game-fixing" and "manipulated".
Sun.Star Davao coverage team also observed some spectators leaving the gym earlier than usual.
He, however, said coaches of both teams denied that they manipulated the game leaving organizers to present them options to somehow salvage the tournament. One, is for Goldstar, Montaña and TRMH-CMO to draw lots to determine which team is No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 then get the first two vie for the title and the No. 3 team to play against Omega Pain Killer for the third place. Another option was to have the three teams draw lots with the one getting no number to be dropped and the other two go on with the finals match. It was also suggested that Goldstar and Montaña collide again at 2 p.m. Tuesday where the winner will play TRMH-CMO in the evening finals.
But it was reported that Goldstar and Montaña coaches did not want any other option but for them to play against each other in the finals.
Lawyer Abarquez said Goldstar and Montaña were the ones who put the tournament on the bad light, saying that they are not the aggrieved party and yet they backed out from the league.
He said, "There has to be action and sanction, otherwise, it will be like an act of surrender from the end of the organizers to discipline erring teams. We cannot allow two teams to manipulate the game or choose their opponents. What happened was not good for basketball in Davao. We must attain purity of the sport."
Abarquez added it was a hard decision to make that's why they presented win-win solution, not sacrificing the need to sanction Goldstar and Montaña.
Organizers also said Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte may initiate an investigation at the City Council regarding the controversy as the cagefest was organized by the City Government of Davao for Dabawenyos as a treat in celebration of the 28th Kadayawan sa Dabaw.
Cua, for his part, they will impose sanction on both teams involved pending the result of the City Council probe.
Montaña coach Serafica, in a phone interview with Sun.Star Davao Tuesday, said he never had any agreement with Goldstar whatsoever.
But he admitted that they wouldn't want to face TRMH-CMO in the finals, thus, the need for them to win the match against Goldstar.
"Mura mig naghikog ana kung banggaon namo ang pinakalig-on nga team. Wala man mi nagsabot sa Goldstar pero pareho lang siguro among gihuna-huna nga dili mi gusto mulaban sa Mandaya para sa championship (It's like suicide on our part if we face the strongest team. We didn't talk with Goldstar about anything, perhaps, we just shared the same thoughts about not wanting a finals encounter with Mandaya)," Serafica admitted.
Goldstar coach Gravador, for his part, cited that key shooters Francis "Kiko" Adriano and Leo Avenido were injured.
"It was a gametime decision for Adriano not to play while Avenido only endured his pain during the entire game," Gravador said in a text message before the coaches' deliberation transpired.
Avenido managed to sink 13 points for Goldstar.
He added that they were "emotionally drained after scoring a huge upset" over TRMH-CMO and that they could not discredit Montaña as they also had a close fight with the reigning champions in Saturday's opener.
TRMH-CMO owner Glenn Escandor, meanwhile, lauded the move of the organizers to cancel the championship.
"It was a good move. They did not tolerate the action of manipulating game, otherwise, this will give a wrong signal to the people of Davao," Escandor told sportswriters in a casual meeting at his hotel.
He said they invested time and money to form a strong team to entertain Davao fans with quality basketball.
He added, "It was not clear who really won the game between Goldstar and Montaña last night as the issue of game-fixing was raised. It's very unfair on our part."
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 21, 2013.