CEBU CITY – An emotionally-charged semifinal game between the University of San Carlos Warriors and the University of the Visayas Green Lancers almost came to an abrupt end at halftime after the Lancers discovered a threatening message written inside their locker room at the Cebu Coliseum.
A visibly distraught UV coach Gary Cortes was unwilling to continue the game after the mirror inside their dugout had the message “AYAW MO PAPILDI” (Don’t get beaten) written in red ink.
The message was apparently imploring the Lancers to not lose the game in order to give the Southwestern University-Phinma Cobras a better chance of making it to the best-of-five Cesafi finals.
Cortes took the message as a clear threat to his team and did not want to put their lives in any kind of danger. He felt so strongly about not continuing with the game that he threatened to quit on the spot if he were ordered to continue coaching the team under the dire circumstances.
“I didn’t know that basketball here in Cebu was this dirty. This is just a game. I didn’t want to risk the safety of my players, not for this game or any other game,” said Cortes.
After an hour-long delay that saw several police officers arrive on the scene to investigate the matter, Cortes was talked into moving on with the game by team manager Gerald Anthony ‘Samsam’ Gullas, but the Lancers eventually lost to the Warriors, 65-72, to set up a finals rematch between these very same squads.
However, Gullas announced that he will not allow his Lancers to play in the finals until a thorough investigation of the incident is conducted.
“I will not let them play game 1 up until a thorough investigation has been done by Cesafi on who's behind this cowardly act. This is a grave threat and I will not allow my players to be in danger. We will not play any championship game up until Cesafi will figure out what happened,” said Gullas, the Cebu First District Representative.