WHILE everybody is busy following the World Cup in Brazil, this football fan among those who fight sleep just to watch live action from midnight at Balls channel, another Cup is ongoing and moving to its knock out phase.
Like the booted World Cup (WC) defending champion Spain, Bacolod City's Barangay 9 also got kicked out of the Monico Cup (MC) joining 25 other villages which failed to advance.
The MC defending champs were no longer the team dreaded by other aspirants. Player disqualification, students' transfer to other provinces to avail of athletic scholarships, and losing interest due to successive losses were the reasons for teams to forfeit their games.
Defaulting teams have no reason to be scared, after all the 8th staging of MC 21 Under carries no provision for default fee. It is quite easy to forfeit one's schedule as no sanction is expected from the organizers.
Who cares if more teams do not appear for their schedule at Bays Center? The referees would not complain either as their salaries per game is fixed. Perhaps the MC commissioner and its committee can keep a record of those "vanishing squads" for identification purposes in the next Monico Cup.
Perhaps it will be good for MC, too to reduce the age like make it the original Under 18 category which is an official Fiba age grouping so that the kids will be motivated to excel more.
At least the standouts have something to aspire, not necessarily inclusion in the national team, but a chance to join big colleges and universities in Manila. The current age grouping has nowhere to go except play in colleges where their ages will be distorted just to fit the qualification requirement.
Fiba is even giving emphasis on 3-on-3 Under 18 where the likes of Kobe Paras made an impression abroad. Let us accept the fact that the Under 21 division is for political purposes but the 18-year-olds have only months or a year to wait and be able to vote.
If developmental program is the aim of Monico Cup it might as well lower its age bracket in line with Fiba age groups in order to be consistent with the world governing body and SBP.
Once Monico Cup returns to its original Under 18 category it might try some changes like dividing Bacolod City into East, West, North and South divisions.
All barangays nearest to Bays Center can have the gym. Those in the East like Estefania, Granada, and Alangilan can alternate their covered courts as venue.
Same with those in the West like the seashore areas while Sum-ag, Punta Taytay, Cabug, Singcang, Pahanocoy could be lumped in the South. Mandalagan, Bata, Banago and their neighbors could form the North side.
Decentralizing the tournament will have home court and away games which will favor the residents and basketball fans nearby as they are nearest to the action. The schedule can be finished on time or earlier as simultaneous matches can be held.
Teams can save on transportation expenses as competition will be among neighboring barangays. Participants can be limited to 32 teams and the MC organizers could design a new system and format for its tournament.
Change always gets resistance but if the MC think-tanks could sell its ideas and be firm about its plans, then the 9th Monico Cup will print a lasting impression.
Lastly, one default is excusable. Two is intentional. Three is an insult to the organizers. Better require teams to pay a default bond if it wishes to play or rejoin.
Ban is only a three-letter word. You don't need a Thesaurus or a dictionary to know what it means.