Let the games begin!
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
AT LAST, the much-awaited 2011 PRISAA-UCAAP Collegiate Basketball Championship is now in full swing. Dubbed this year as “Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr. Cup”, the tourney is being played every Monday and Thursday of the week with seven collegiate teams participating, spearheaded by the defending champion University of Luzon (UL).
The popular tournament started last July 27 at the Dagupan People’s Astrodome with full attendance from people of all walks of life, dominated, of course, by students of the participating schools. The opening was simple yet colorful with the traditional parade of teams and their respective beautiful muses, speeches of the officials led by the organization’s president Atty. Gonzalo T. Duque, City Administrator Vlad Mata representing Mayor Benjie S. Lim, and Provincial Administrator Raffy Baraan who represented Gov. Espino. My partner and PUNCH colleague Phil Celi was the master of ceremony.
The annual tournament, now on its 21st season, has been serving as an important venue for healthy sports competition and entertainment. And being an avid admirer of the league since it started, originally called Metro Colleges Athletic Association of Dagupan (MCAAD), and now as an official, I believe this season could be one of the most exciting and most talent-filled cagefest in a long time. The league’s followers can expect exciting battles with no team seen to play lackluster games. That’s for sure. But I’m anticipating a lot of nitpicking too from the team coaches. In fact on opening day, I already heard whining from the teams of CdD and PAMMA. What more as the tourney progresses, particularly in the semis and finals? I am anticipating cuss words not only from the team officials but also from the spectators if the whistle-blowers commit big miscues. I know it will eventually reflect on me being the new commissioner of the league. But that’s to be expected in any ball game, even in more prestigious tournaments like the NCAA, UAAP and even in the PBA and NBA. You guys and I have seen a lot of them. The emotion could get so high, especially if there is betting involved but I know I have to remain unaffected and impartial thorough out.
The referees should also do their job well and avoid grossly erratic calls, much less conspire against any team. This will cast a ‘black eye’ on the entire league. Referees, umpires, table officials, and judges, are the most controversial individuals in any kind of competition. They can make and unmake the outcome of the competition.
Surely, all the seven teams are praying to make it to the ‘final four’ and eventually emerge as the champion of this season. But let me remind our young dribblers to always play clean and well. Period. And to the referees, please be fair and square. God is watching us. Don’t wait for the ‘divine justice’ to be meted you.
* * * *
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Apostle Peter said, “So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God to hear all the things commanded you by God.” Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. “But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. “The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ – He is Lord of all. ACTS 10: 33-36