AFTER staying silent for weeks, the University of San Carlos (USC) Green and Gold Warriors Alumni Association, the chief backer of the school’s varsity team, finally spoke up to express their concerns regarding the sanction imposed on USC assistant coach Junthy Valenzuela.
In a letter signed by Bogo City Mayor Celestino “Junie” Martinez Jr., the chairman of the alumni board of directors, and president Nilo Velasquez that was sent to Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) Commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy, the group raised the competence of the local officials.
“We the undersigned would like to come forth with this unsolicited advice concerning the Cesafi basketball league. We cannot be at peace to keep this matter in the dark because, as your friends, former basketball players, avid basketball fans and passionate advocates for the sport, we feel obliged to bring this matter to your attention,” the group said.
Their letter addressed two things, the ban on Valenzuela and the issues concerning the league referees, which they said have an impact on the sport in Cebu Province.
“All we want is a change in the officiating in Cesafi because we felt the league tolerated these ‘wrongdoings.’ All we want is for the Cesafi to do something about this because this will destroy the beauty of the game and I hope Commissioner Tiukinhoy will take this matter into consideration,” Martinez told Sun.Star Cebu in a telephone interview.
The former Warriors were unhappy when the league imposed a ban for the rest of the season on Valenzuela without giving the latter a chance to explain.
“We do appreciate your promptness to impose discipline that would deter Cesafi participants from putting Cesafi in a bad light. However, we feel that your decision in banning Mr. Valenzuela for the rest of the season without giving him an opportunity to explain himself was a little bit too harsh. As it can be gleaned from the video of the game, Cesafi referees failed to call appropriate sanctions for the intentional physical harm done to USC players. And had Valenzuela been given a chance to be heard, you would have appreciated that he and the rest of the USC coaching staff pleaded to the referees to save the game from being marred by the intentional fouls done on USC players,” the letter said.
Although they believed that the sanction imposed on Valenzuela was done with good intentions, they said it “brought more damage” to the league by taking out the fighting chances of the Warriors from advancing beyond the semifinal round.
USC Warriors alumni also said that Cesafi referees have serious credibility issues.
“It is apparent to the basketball community that Cesafi’s referees do face serious credibility issues, especially when the teams playing belong to the favored few. In fact, in one of the championship games in the past, when these elite teams fought against each other, we had to hire referees from Manila so as to have credible referees in that game,” they said.