COACHES of four participating teams competing in the 33rd Kadayawan sa Dabaw Festival Invitational Basketball Tournament, which opened Thursday afternoon, August 9, at the Almendras Gym Davao City Recreation Center, were given a stern warning that violence would not be tolerated and culprits will be arrested.
University of Cebu (UC) Webmasters assistant coach Danica Canitoy, during Davao Sportswriters Association (DSA) Forum Thursday, August 9, at The Annex of SM City Davao, said they heard of the warning during the coaches' briefing held Tuesday evening at The Royal Mandaya Hotel.
She said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP)-Davao Region referee commissioner lawyer Francis Calatrava, during the meeting, told them that he no longer wants a repeat of last year when two brawls marred the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers-Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws game that resulted to a double forfeiture.
"Sabi nya if you punch a person it is already a crime para lang ma-aware kami (so that we can be aware). We have educated players. Alam naman nila [UC players], nag-meeting narin kami (They know, we already had our meeting)," Canitoy said.
Calatrava, in a separate phone interview, said that basketball is a physical game "but if it will result later to violence, magsuntok (punching) is already tantamount to a crime".
He said the referees will do their best to control the game and the players but if situations go "beyond normal" just like in the 2017 Kadayawan cagefest, the City Government of Davao already has its security measures in place.
"I told the coaches we are happy you accepted our invitation but your acceptance comes with a responsibility'," Calatrava said.
National University (NU) Bulldogs head coach Jamike Jiran, for his part, said: "Basketball is a very physical and emotional game. Rest assured, we will play the right way of playing basketball."
Benjie Zosa, assistant coach of the Davao-Go-Duterte basketball team, only hopes for fair officiating to prevent any unwanted incident in the tournament.
He, however, said, "laro lang kami ng basketball (we will just play basketball)."
Calatrava, meanwhile, said he already met the referees and they drew lots for the rotation. "We also had drawn lots of the teams to determine their schedule.
The University of Sto. Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers, coached by Aldin Ayo, will defend its title. Ayo was the coach of the DLSU team that figured in the ugly melee with Far Eastern University (FEU) last year.