CEBU

Limpag: How a hotdog became a Cesafi mantra

Fair Play

DO YOU know this crazy reporter Mike Limpag, Graeme? One school athletic director once told my friend Graeme Mackinnon as he and I got to the Cebu City Sports Center while talking about a peculiar case involving a local football team.

“Why?” Graeme simply asked. He took a quick glance at me, but I just stood there, suddenly remembering that although I’ve interviewed the official many times over the phone, we’ve never been officially introduced.

“He’s writing crazy things,” the official said, then went on attacking the day’s banner story on how he was supporting the Cesafi sanction on their own coach as it was in the rules.

Graeme eyes kept switching between me and him and I swear I saw it in the official’s face that he was slowly realizing, “Could this be that crazy reporter I’m talking about?”

The funny thing was, Graeme and I were talking about that before we bumped into him. That was almost 20 years ago, I became friends with the official, and I think I ribbed him over the incident once or twice.

That’s just one of the memorable tales I’ve collected about Cesafi over the years. Color me biased, but I love this league, especially its pro-education stance as it is my view too.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we’ve always seen eye-to-eye.

There was that sordid Scott Aying affair a few years ago and I’m pretty sure commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy had the word crazy next to my name in a conversation in those days. In retrospect, I should have been more diplomatic in pushing for my ideas.

If my memory serves me right, I think a column or two was included in a court case but that’s water under the bridge, and the two-year residency rule is long gone and I’m not in the commish’s crazy list.

Here’s another crazy thing. Back when I was wearing my student activist hat, I encourage others to look at the Cesafi fee. School owners, I told them, are just using that to fleece students.

Eighteen years later, I was talking with Sir Felix and one school owner, who was narrating how he spent a hefty sum for the needed equipment for the livestreaming of the games. I was jotting down the figures when he said, “Ayaw lang na ibutang Mike, mura man ta’g gapahambug.”

Because of that, not too many know the real picture why we got live pictures of Cesafi, one delivered by students. Something that hasn’t been done by other leagues.

But most of us heard when Cesafi president Bernard Nicolas E. Villamor, in his season launch speech in 2018, encourage student athletes to not neglect their academics and say that now famous line, “Basta Cesafi, estyudante.”

It was and is a quick hit. One the league used a year later to highlight how its production and marketing was student-initiated. After that speech, in a talk with reporters, Sir Bernard simply said that he copied Virginia Foods’ famous tagline, which is what made it a quick hit.

I think the league has adopted it as its own tagline—because it’s beautiful--and I hope it will still be when kids get into college years from now. So maybe, I can share the story behind that line.


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