Monday, September 24, 2018

Limpag: Partner’s Cup

I CAUGHT Game 2 of the Cesafi Partner’s Cup finals between the University of the Visayas and the University of Cebu and boy, was it a thrilling encounter. UV eventually won but I really thought UC had it in the bag after leading by as much as eight points early in the game.

Renowned UC coach Yayoy Alcoseba, known for his fiesty outbursts, may have mellowed down a bit but he could still issue a wisecrack or two.

Just as I sat down, Yayoy was in the middle of an exchange with a ref, saying “Dili na diay pwede mi mureklamo?” The ref replied, “Dili man to reklamo imo coach” and added something that I didn’t quite catch. Remember, the coaches are trying to control themselves after Mark Tallo got a P5,000 suspension and a ban for the rest of the pre-season after getting into an encounter with a ref.

It was late in the first quarter and UC was slowly building up its lead against a UV team that played without an import.

Later, Yayoy had another classic line during a timeout, after the ref got a bit delayed in answering his query on whose ball possession it was. He said, “Dugaya sa’d nimo mutubag oy, mut-anaw pa man ka’g replay bag-o mu-tubag.”

Love him or hate him, I think Coach Yayoy adds another element to college basketball that makes it interesting. However, in these days where everyone is one video clip away from becoming viral, I think he has to be a bit more careful as his antics, if shared without context, might lead to quick condemnation of him and the school.

Take for example what happened near the end of Game 2, when we suddenly saw a chair getting thrown at the court. Yayoy was assessed for a technical for that and if you saw clips of the coach being spread online, you have to understand UC had a chance to win and send the series to a Game 3 if not for two costly turnovers by Frederick Elombi.

With something as big as the Partner’s Cup title on the line, you could understand how the competitive coach got frustrated by an elementary mistake by their import.

Anyway, that should make for an interesting regular season, where UV is again the favorite with UC a close second. The University of San Carlos, I heard, is on some sort of a rebuilding phase and could be a non-factor this year. After winning its first title in 57 years four years ago, the USC Warriors have never been the same, losing and changing coaches almost every season.

UV also won the high school title but rival Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu didn’t play. I’m glad that another team, the University of Southern Philippines Foundation, made the finals and I hope the regular season won’t just be a two-way contest.

I like the way USPF is rebuilding its team, letting go of those who don’t have a team-first mentality and encouraging those who are left to not also forget their academics.

The Cesafi is just around the corner, with basketball expected to start in early August. Will we see another UV double? Let’s all find out, shall we?