UV Green Lancers deny accusations of tanking in Cesafi semifinals
UC coach Gary Cortes had dismissed rumors of purposely dropping the match even before the Lancers-Warriors round-robin semifinal match. Ron Tolin

CEBU CITY —  University of the Visayas team manager Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas defended his Green Lancers against insinuations they intentionally dropped their match against University of San Carlos in order to avoid bitter rival Southwestern University in the finals of the 16th Cesafi basketball tournament.

The Warriors prevailed over the Lancers, 72-65, on Thursday to seal the fate of the Cobras, which in spite of their stellar 12-0 win-loss record in the classification round, was relegated to the third-place match against University of San Jose-Recoletos.

A UV win would have set up a battle with SWU in the best-of-five title series starting on Saturday at the Cebu Coliseum.

Gullas, the Cebu First District Representative, bristled at comments made by basketball observers on social media sites, especially those that branded them “cowards.”

“People are entitled to their own opinions. But honestly, no instructions were given to the UV Green Lancers to do such thing. To throw away a game to not face SWU? UV would never do that. I have so much respect for SWU, they have two of the best coaches this country has ever seen, and arguably the most talented one on one player in Cebu, even the country. We would have loved to face them in the finals and hopefully beat them in the finals. But it wasn't meant to be. Does that make us cowards?” said Gullas in a statement in his personal Facebook page.

The Green Lancers were up by 11 in the third period but failed to protect their lead down the stretch against a hot-shooting Warriors squad.

Gullas said they lost to a better team, one that has beaten them twice in three match-ups so far this season.

“We lost to a better team. A team that we have difficulty matching up with. A team that kicked our butts during the elimination round. A team with shooters that space the floor on any given possession. A team that isn't given the benefit of the doubt. So let me ask you, does that make us cowards? Or does that just make us humans like everyone else? Humans who win and lose. I think everyone knows the cliche that "lingin ang bola bai" (the ball is round).

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Interestingly, SWU’s star guard Macmac Tallo, came to UV’s defense and implored Cebuano basketball fans to give the two finalists credit.

“We don’t have to make an issue about the game of UV and USC. Kung nakita ninyo yung game kahapon, you can see how hard both teams played. Ayaw nila magpatalo. It was really an intense game kaya let’s move forward na. We don’t have to blame UV. We are just hoping to change the format nalang para wala nang mangyayaring ganito sa future,” said Tallo in an interview.

After initially declaring he would not allow the Green Lancers to play in the finals until a thorough investigation of the vandalizing incident that happened on Thursday, Gullas said they will see action.

“Please stop the conspiracy theories. To everyone that wasn't there like me, I was told that my coach, who for your information hates coach Yayoy (Alcoseba), approached coach Yayoy and every member of the SWU coaching staff and apologized to what happened. If SWU didn't want this to happen, rest assured we didn't want it to happen as well. We honestly don't match up well with USC and that's why we lost today. We lost to a better team because UV will never throw a game away for selfish reasons. It's not in our blood, our self worth and self pride would never dictate us to do something you are accusing us of. I as team manager wouldn't allow that.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @ForgetAboutJay