AFTER languishing at the bottom for four straight seasons, the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) Panthers decided to take a leave of absence for the 2014 Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) Season that will start on Aug. 2.
Although, nothing is formal yet, Cesafi commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy Jr. told Sun.Star Cebu that the top officials of the school have informed them of their plans.
“Although no official letter yet was submitted to the board, but top officials of the school (USPF) had indicated that their college team will be taking a leave of absence this season. We are still waiting for their letter,” Tiukinhoy said.
Aside from being at the bottom, USPF lost its long-time mentor Raul Latonio, who decided to call it quits after calling the shots for the Panthers for more nearly 30 years. His departure was one of the major reasons for the school officials to disband the team.
Some of their players are now in Manila. Joseph Sedurifa who is now playing for Centro Escolar University Scorpions and Jomari Sollano is reportedly playing for the Lyceum University of the Philippines Pirates.
Aside from USPF, 2010 high school champions Cebu Eastern College Dragons are also planning to take a leave of absence.
“Actually, it’s not only USPF college team who will not play this season, but the CEC high school team is also indicating it will also take a leave of absence this season.
We don’t know the reason but like USPF, we are still waiting for their letter,” continued Tiukinhoy.
Since, its embarrassing campaign in 2009, CEC evolved to become a title contender in the high school competition and is a perennial semifinalist.
With the impending absence of the two teams, Cesafi is planning to reformat its tournament format to a double-round robin elimination round with the top four of the collegiate competition to enjoy a twice-to-beat edge in the semifinal round, while the top four teams of the high school competition will enjoy a twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals.