CEBU CITY - The rivalry between the University of the Visayas Green Lancers and the Southwestern University-Phinma Cobras runs so deep that, at times, it spills off the court.
Such was the case on Sunday night when the rival Cesafi head coaches—UV’s Gary Cortes and SWU’s Yayoy Alcoseba—engaged in a little bit of gamesmanship near halftime and even after the final buzzer.
Just before halftime, as Cortes vehemently protested an unsportsmanlike foul call on ward Bassiere Sackor, Alcoseba openly jeered the Green Lancer mentor and dared him to “walk out” of the game, a mocking reference to the 2015 incident in Medellin where Cortes led a Lancer walkout of their exhibition game against the University of San Carlos Warriors.
The walkout led to a two-month suspension for Cortes.
Later, with the victory already in the bag for the UV Green Lancers and with just seconds left in the match, Cortes returned the favor by exhausting all his timeouts.
No wonder the two did not bother to shake hands at the end of the game, each heading straight to their respective dugouts.
However, Cortes played down the incidents afterwards.
“It was nothing. In the second round, when we lost to them, I went to their bench to shake Coach Yayoy’s hands but they weren’t there already. So I just returned the favor,” said the young head coach in the Cebuano dialect.
As for the late timeouts — often considered an affront when the game is already decided — Cortes said he deliberately called them to specifically remind his players to keep on playing defense and keep on scoring to avoid any complications, should the quotient system come into play in the chase for finals berths.
Cortes noetheless maintains that in spite of all the back-and-forth, he has nothing but respect for Alcoseba and that he just wants to show that he, and the rest of his team, will not back down from the challenge.
“I just want to show him (Alcoseba) that we will not get intimidated. I have nothing but respect for him. But as a young coach, we just want to prove ourselves against him," he said.
"Back when I was still playing, coach Yayoy was already coaching so I have the utmost respect for him.”