A DAY before the new season could start, Cesafi got itself in a controversy with the entry of SWU’s Bendly Valdor as a replacement for Justin Aboude, who was discovered to have a heart ailment.

His entry came after the deadline, and that’s where the latest problem lie. Rival coaches contend Valdor shouldn’t be allowed to play as he didn’t go through the screening process and the replacement happened after the deadline.

The USC Warriors pointed out that in one season, they had to play with nine players because they weren’t allowed to add players past the deadline. How come the Cobras got the privilege?

Cesafi commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy said he allowed SWU to make the switch for humanitarian reasons, and that, I think, is commendable but how everything went through stinks of favoritism.

Is Cesafi making sure SWU gets to field the strongest team possible for the Philippine Collegiate Champions League, which has televised games nationwide? Afterall, SWU made the final four two straight times.

It’s easy to condemn Commissioner Tiukinhoy for this latest move and accuse him of bias but I do know—even if we disagree on a lot of things—the commissioner has the welfare of the Cesafi in mind when he makes such decisions.

So, I’m just going to warn him of the potential trouble the league could be because of his latest move and his citing of humanitarian reason.

The league has a lot of stringent policies that mete out lifetime bans for violators, and I think, in the future, violators will appeal such decisions, citing humanitarian reasons.

“I was promised a sack of rice for my family if I play in the barangay, even if the Cesafi is still ongoing, please be humane and don’t ban me, I only want to help provide for my family,” one could cite and he won’t be wrong.

“Please, don’t ban me for life. That is inhumane. Where will I work now? How can I feed my family?”

“One of our player is too stupid to pass his subjects and I know it’s past the deadline, please give us the chance to offer a scholarship to another poor but deserving player, so he can get a chance at a college degree.”

“I was cut from the previous team and I want to transfer schools and enjoy a scholarship as my family is too poor to pay for a college degree. Please let me play without serving a one-year residency?”

I can go on and on.

And they’d be all as justified as SWU is in requesting such favor for humanitarian reasons. Because if you offer a broad stroke like that, you open up for all other possibilities.

Cesafi should have stuck to its guidelines of not allowing lineup changes after the deadline. But now that it has, it should allow any teams to make any changes for medical reasons.

Anyone who gets injured and is out for the rest of the season may be replaced for medical reason, citing the Justin Aboude case. That’s the only way to make this whole affair fair to all schools.

And oh, it’s time to revisit all those guidelines because every year there’s a controversy.