THE league commissioner stood his ground and said it was his “prerogative” to decide on schedule changes; University of Visayas said the basis of the move was “lame.”
In the end, the Lancers backed down and agreed to play the deciding game of the Cesafi best-of-five finals against Southwestern University on Saturday at the Cebu Coliseum, but not after staging a protest by showing up at the venue at the originally scheduled time on Thursday, in their uniforms and ready to play.
The game was originally set on Thursday but was moved apparently because the University of Cebu had already booked the venue for an event.
Still, Cesafi commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy said there was no “malicious intent” behind the move back the schedule of Game Five by two days.
“We have always been discussing the schedule and it is the prerogative of the commissioner to decide on that. The board of trustees gave me that authority. If ever there is any malicious intent on our part, then we shouldn’t stay a minute longer in our positions. Nobody can accuse us of giving preference to one team,” said the league’s long-time commissioner during a press conference at the University of San Jose-Recoletos campus, the league’s host this season.
However, the commissioner’s assurance did not stop the UV administration led by vice-president Gerald Anthony “Didi” Gullas, from expressing its frustration.
“This is to respectfully inform you that the University of the Visayas Green Lancers will play the championship game on the new playdate that you scheduled. But while we can assure you that UV will be playing with its usual pride and dedication, which the university is known for thoughout its sporting history, it will also be playing with a heavy heart,” Gullas said in a letter addressed to the commissioner.
“Our heart is heavy because we feel the decision to reschedule Game Five was arbitrary, and the basis lame, to say the least. As can be seen clearly in the attached original schedule, a championship Game Five, if necessary, is to be played on October 4.
“That the rescheduling was due, as you said, to a conflict in schedule at the venue does not speak well of the organizational aspects of the league. And it does not help that in a prior instance when a similar conflict in schedule occurred, the scheduled game was still played at a different venue. Why this time should be any different we can only leave to speculation,” Gullas ended.
SWU head coach Raul “Yayoy” Alcoseba and athletic director Ryan Aznar said their team was ready to play on Thursday but agreed that both teams will benefit from having enough time to rest and prepare for the winner-take-all encounter.
“I feel that it was the right decision. The players are not robots but human beings,” said Aznar.