TO avoid further damage and embarrassment, the Southwestern University (SWU) Baby Cobras withdrew its participation in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) High School Tournament
In light of the controversy surrounding the attempt of fielding overaged players and the lifetime ban on all of the nine questioned players, SWU-Phinma management decided to pull out its participation to prevent more damage and public judgment.
This was announced by Cesafi commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy Jr. during the official launching and press conference of the league’s 15th Season at the Parklane International Hotel yesterday.
Cesafi president Fr. Many Uy, SJ, of the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu, asked the public to refrain from judging the school management for this controversy.
“We were looking forward to the comeback of the SWU high school team. We are sad that the team had to withdraw because of eligibility issues. The public should not be quick in passing judgement to the school management. I know the athletic director of SWU, and I trust in his integrity. I know that the overaged players were registered without his knowledge,” Fr. Uy told Sun.Star Cebu.
Of the 15-man line-up, nine were found to have tampered NSO records, five of whom admitted to it. The fate of the other four will be known tomorrow.
SWU athletic director Ryan Aznar admitted that the school’s new adminstration was stunned with what happened.
“The school administration was shocked. This is a very gross violation. I myself am shocked. Those records passed by me and I didn’t even notice that they were fake. They really looked original to me. Mao diay to nga confident kaayo sila nga makig tune-up game sa college, kay mao diay mga overaged na diay (for high school players),” Aznar told Sun.Star Cebu.
Cesafi made sure this act would not go unpunished.
Cesafi meted Elber dela Cerna Catinggan, Reynaldo Obarco Jr., Mark Anthony Quilab, Andy Jones Turno and Edwin Abo-abo, the five player who admitted to have tampered documents were banned for life to play in the league.
Also slapped with a lifetime ban is Rey Lubguban, the coach SWU Baby Cobras, whom Cesafi believes to have knowledge about the shenanegans.
“For me, banning the players for life is unfair. No player has the means to tamper with their records. This must be done with the permission of a person who has the power, other than the coach. Right now, we suspect somebody, but unless the players or the coach would point his fingers, that person would stay a suspect,” added Aznar.
Cebu high school basketball already banned of players in the past for falsifying documents.
The Cebu Amateur Athletic Association (CAAA), the predecessor of Cesafi – had witnessed the same kind of controversies among high school players.