CEBU CITY – Cebu congressman Gerald Anthony Gullas added to the uproar against the decision of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL) to cancel its title match and instead declare co-champions at the end of this year’s semifinals of the National Collegiate Championship.
Gullas, who also serves as the University of the Visayas vice president and team manager of the Green Lancers, expressed his utter disappointment over the PCCL board’s controversial decision to cut the tournament short because of typhoon Nona, saying it is insensitive to the goals and efforts of provincial teams.
“(It’s) sad. Just sad. Provincial teams, like teams from the Cesafi, look at the PCCL as the top of the mountain, the greatest obstacle for provincial teams to overcome. PCCL is supposed to be our Super Bowl, our NBA Finals, our World Series, our Stanley Cup,” shared Gullas.
"That's the tournament we look forward to every year because as a provincial team, we would want to bring honor to Cebu," Gullas added.
[See UV Green Lancers work up good sweat even before PCCL game as team coaster breaks down]
The youngest in the long line of esteemed sportsmen/politicians in his family, Gullas initially chose to stay silent despite the mishaps his Green Lancers had to go through before their Elite Eight match against the Technological Institute of the Philippines.
On Monday, the UV squad was made to travel three hours to Tanauan, Batangas. Along the way, players, coaches, and officials had to push their bus after it broke down near a tollgate and then, when they got to the playing venue, had to make do with sleeping on the bleachers to wait for gametime.
But after catching wind of the PCCL’s latest decision, he felt someone had to stand up, not just for his school but for teams coming from outside of Manila.
The University of San Carlos (USC) Warriors, the reigning Cesafi titleholders, are the last provincial team standing in the NCC and is set to take on UAAP champion Far Eastern University on Thursday afternoon for the right to be called co-champion.
NCAA rivals Letran and San Beda clash in the other semifinal, which, as a result of the NCC decision, becomes a battle for the co-championship.
“As a matter of fact, whether it is USC, UV, the University of San Jose-Recoletos, Southwestern University or any Cesafi team, we are all one when a fellow Cebuano has a chance to win it all," Gullas told Spin.ph.
"Even though they beat us in the Cesafi and after UV got eliminated in the PCCL, I was hoping USC would be called the best team in the country. It will give credit not just to USC, but Cebu basketball as well.
“The PCCL, the tournament that is supposed to be the pinnacle for every Cebu team every year, has become a joke and honestly a laughing stock in a basketball-crazy country such as ours. Kawawa ang mga taga-probinsya. Kawawa ang taga-Cebu. Kawawa tayong lahat!” he added.
When news of the PCCL’s decision to have co-champions this year went around, basketball observers quickly kidded that maybe league officials should change their slogan from “There Can Only Be One” to “There Can Only Be Two.”
It was a sentiment shared by USC’s former head coach Britt Reroma. The champion mentor, though, chose to be more diplomatic and said that he understood where the league was coming from.
“We must understand it is not our control because may bagyo. [With] the timing of the tournament too since it’s almost Christmas na, it’s inconvenient for the USC team to rebook their flight details.”